Proposed parking code to be revised, returned to City Council next year

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A proposed update to the city’s parking ordinance will return to a future council meeting. Council members unanimously voted to have staff “redo” the ordinance at Monday’s council meeting.

The Seal Beach City Council considered a “second reading,” or approval, of an ordinance updating the city’s parking code at the agency’s Monday night, Dec. 10, meeting. Now, however, it will have to come back for another “second reading.”

The measure apparently included a controversial requirement that parked cars be moved 150 feet after the time limit on that street has expired. State law imposes a maximum 72 hours for a car to be parked at a location. The Seal Beach parking ordinance refers to “posted time” in a parking zone, but appeared to apply to parking citywide, not just in time-limited commercial zones.

Because of the controversy over the proposed 150-foot rule, council members requested the revisions. Council’s direction to staff was to keep the 150-foot rule in commercial areas of the city and devise area-specific rules for different parts of the city.

There was disagreement over the number of feet that cars ought to be moved to qualify has having been relocated.

Resident Bill Ayres supported the proposed 150-foot rule.

“There is a group of people in town play games with th Seal Beach Police Department—especially parking enforcement,” Ayres said.

According to Ayres, if the people he was talking about received a notice from police to move their car within 72 hours, they might move their cars 2 or 3 inches.

“This rule takes the handcuffs off the parking enforcement people,” Ayres said.

He also pointed out that enforcement of the 150-foot rule would be enforced by complaints.

At a recent parking town hall meeting, many members of the public had expressed fierce opposition to the proposed requirement that they move their cars at least 150 feet.

District One Councilwoman Ellery Deaton said, “One-hundred-50 feet isn’t going to work.” She said it seemed to her that the GPS system needs to be involved. She also called for staff to develop a vacation permit. She said that the people who were gaming the system knew exactly what they were doing.

Deaton did not agree with having neighbors report on neighbors.

Bowles said staff would be more than happy to bring back the ordinance with proposals based on the council’s feedback.

District Four Councilwoman Schelly Sustarsic expressed concern that College Park East doesn’t have this problem and the proposed ordinance could create a problem in her district. Sustarsic suggested having different rules for different districts.

Deaton suggested changing the 150-foot requirement to 25 feet.

However, City Treasurer/Finance Director Victoria Beatley said the city might want to look at a greater distance than 25 feet, as the GPS was accurate to 25 feet.

Deaton said she would be willing to say 30 feet.

Deaton made a motion to change the distance based on the city’s “least wide” streets.

The item was on the Consent Calendar. Consent Calendar items are voted on collectively, without discussion, unless individual items are removed from the calendar for separate consideration. Deaton had the item pulled.

Residents who attended a recent parking town hall meeting expressed displeasure with the requirement that cars must be moved 150 feet every 72 hours. Deaton at that time suggested 150 was too much. Julie Dixon, the city’s parking consultant, conceded there had been a lot of “feedback” concerning the requirement.

In November, the council approved the introduction (first reading) of the new parking ordinance. At that time, District Two Councilman Thomas Moore proposed making an exception for homeowners, but nothing came of the proposal. Seal Beach Police Commander Steve Bowles, whose duties include the city’s parking program, said the police would continue to enforce the 72-hour rule by complaint.

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