Council shifts gears on head-in parking

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The Seal Beach Municipal Code currently requires head-in parking.

And the Seal Beach City Council on Monday, Aug. 9, decided to keep the requirement, but have the police issue warnings. Meanwhile, staff has been directed to look at the signage.

They didn’t actually cast a vote. Instead, based on the advice of the city attorney, they simply did not act on an agenda item.

Last month, council members approved the introduction of an ordinance that would carve out an exception for beach-area parking. The vote was 3-2. Council members Mike Varipapa and Sandra Massa-Lavitt cast the dissenting votes at the July 26 meeting.

The council was expected to adopt the exception this week. It was on the Consent Calendar for a so-called second reading (also called adoption). Consent items are voted on collectively, without discussion, unless something is pulled for separate consideration.

On Monday night, District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick pulled exception to head-in parking  for separate consideration Monday night.

Kalmick acknowledged that he voted for the ordinance in July. However, he proposed replacing the head-in parking signs. He said he would like to have the police issue warnings for violations rather than issuing what he described as 4,000 citations. He wanted the warnings to be issued for the remainder of this year.

District Two Councilman Thomas Moore argued that if the city was issuing 4,000 tickets for violating head-in parking, it was evident that people don’t know that’s the law here.

District Five Councilwoman Sandra Massa-Lavitt said she agreed with Kalmick that the city needed to look at signage and making the signs more legible.

District Four Councilwoman Schelly Sustarsic said she was concerned that people weren’t seeing the signs. Giving warnings about head-in parking seemed fine with her.

Kalmick said his proposal was to tabulate the warnings and look at the ordinance again in January 2022.

Moore asked if the city’s parking technology could distinguish between someone who had received a warning and a repeat offender.

“Yes,” said Police Chief Phil Gonshak.

The council members were not sure how to proceed with the proposed ordinance to create an exception to the head-in parking requirement.

City Attorney Crag Steele said the ordinance doesn’t take effect if there is no vote.

So there was no vote.

The issue of head-in parking will return to the City Council for further discussion next year.

In other council news:

• The council adopted on second reading an ordinance that updates the city’s regulations for accessory dwelling units. The new city law allows so-called granny flats to be approved in Old Town and Surfside.

The change in the Municipal Code was in response to a state mandate. This was follow up to the introduction of the same ordinance last month.

“At its meeting on July 26, 2021, the City Council approved as amended the introduction of Ordinance 1690 of the City of Seal Beach to amend Title 11 of the Seal Beach Municipal Code pertaining to Accessory Dwelling Units and Finding the Ordinance to be Exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act,” wrote City Clerk Gloria Harper in her report to the council.

• The council held a study session on the staff plan to lease city vehicles from Enterprise rather than buy them.

A formal contract proposal will come before the council in September. 

• Councilman Kalmick said final approval for the Surfside sand replenishment was close. He credited Rep. Michelle Steel with getting the funding approved. Kalmick said the project still  needs final approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Council shifts gears on  head-in  parking