Editor’s Column on parking dispute was missing context

Logo courtesy of Seal Beach PD

Hi Seal Beach,

Last week an article was printed about time limit and re-parking on Main Street. Allow me to give some context which was missing from Mr. Apodaca’s article.

The City of Seal Beach has a regulation regarding parking and re-parking. These regulations are clearly posted throughout Main Street. In short, vehicles must be moved over 150 feet from the original parking stall. Here is the exact Municipal Code section:

8.15.120 Re-Parking Restrictions in Timed Parking Zones:

On-street parking on a city street. A vehicle will be deemed to have been stopped, parked or left standing for longer than the time allowed in this section, if it has not been moved at least 150 feet in commercial areas following the expiration of the posted time limit in a timed parking zone. A vehicle may not re-park sooner than a “timeout period” (equal to double the posted time limit) following the time at which a vehicle was initially parked. (Ord. 1672)

Time-limited parking requires that vehicles parked in time-restricted commercial areas move a minimum of 150 feet for double the posted time limit after the time limit has been reached. Vehicles parked on-street in non-time limit commercial areas must move a minimum of 150 feet after being parked for 72 hours.

Whenever a vehicle is cited for this section, photographs are taken using the license plate reader system. These photos can be reviewed by visiting https://www.citationprocessingcenter.com/CitationSearch.aspx.

Now you might ask why does this regulation exist? The ordinance was updated in 2017, after hearing common concerns from the community that there’s no parking on Main Street. It was identified that many of the on-street spaces were occupied by business owners and their employees shuffling their cars between parking spaces, occupying the premium parking areas that were intended for customers. A re-parking ordinance is essential to the effectiveness of time limits. The re-parking ordinance prevents drivers from shuffling their vehicles throughout the day in order to avoid the time limit. Because the re-parking ordinance improves the effectiveness of the time limits, it also promotes vehicle turnover, which improves access and ensures spaces are available for customers. Vehicle turnover is good for business as it enables more potential customers to visit our downtown shops and restaurants.

So what happens if someone receives a ticket but thinks it was issued in error? The link above will direct you to contest the citation. The citation review process is completed by the SBPD Traffic Supervisor and/or his or her designee. It is not completed by anyone who issues parking tickets to avoid a conflict of interest. If the citation was upheld on the first review you can request an “In person hearing”, again using the link above. This hearing is done by a designated, neutral, third-party vendor hearing officer. The next step would be to take the citation to small claims court, if you feel it was received unfairly. Additionally, the rules for the appeal process are set forth by the contract company and the State of California.

Mr. Apodaca, this Municipal Code was implemented to stop exactly what you are doing. Main Street employees have a merchant lot which they can and should park in, thus freeing spaces for paying customers. What Mr. Apodaca failed to mention last week and what readers don’t know, is that we exchanged multiple emails in which he was provided with all this information and how to obtain photographs of his vehicle. He was also advised of the proper method for contesting the citation. He did say that he has an upcoming in person review, so why not wait until the results of this hearing before publishing?

Push back all you’d like Mr. Apodaca, but your fight isn’t with City Hall, it is with the Police Department. An editor of a paper using his column to further his own personal agenda seems disreputable, at least to me.

All that being said, I get it. Nobody likes getting parking tickets. I’ve received a few of them myself. However, at the end of the day there is a process for contesting the ticket and citations that will issued in error will be voided.

As always, email me your questions at askacop@sealbeachca.gov today!