Coastal parking regulations postponed

Oceanside — After eight months of staff research, a workshop, survey, and Planning Commission approval, City Council voted to postpone acceptance of coastal parking revisions and asked for more information on Wednesday.

City planning staff started work on beach parking revisions, outside the downtown area, in December in order to address residents’ complaints about multi-bedroom vacation rentals impacting street parking.

The city had also reverted back to 1986 regulations after it was found those passed in 1992 did not receive Coastal Commission approval.

Active regulations require houses have two parking spaces, do not require guest parking for apartments, and allow conditional tandem parking.

Proposed parking changes would require an additional parking space for each residential bedroom over four, ask for guest spaces for apartments, and set a review process for tandem parking.

Some said changes were over reacting to a seasonal summer problem. They supported development of beach properties.

Former city manager Steve Jepsen was among those who said an additional parking space for each bedroom over four was too much.

Others wanted to see improvements.

“I support amending the ordinance,” Victor Roy, Oceanside resident, said. “It’s important to keep things in a smart growth mode.”

Staff research found garage parking was underutilized, and that a healthy number of residents considered parking to be a problem and supported tandem parking.

The subject of lift parking received a lot of discussion. Staff recommended it not count toward required parking because unrelated vacation renters in multi-bedroom units would be unfamiliar with it and unlikely to use it.

Some wanted more options to remain available, including Oceanside resident Barbara Hazlett. She said the proposed regulations would impede development.

“Lift parking should be considered,” Hazlett said. “It’s enclosed in a garage.”

There was also discussion on the validity of the survey that garnered 320 responses. Some said the sample size was small and did not include enough beach residents, although staff mailed the survey to hundreds of residents who were most impacted.

And there was talk on where the problem lied.

“It’s unfair to make newer property owners bear the grunt to fix the parking problem,” Mary Azevedo, lobbyist and Oceanside resident, said. “A lot of residents don’t use their parking spaces.”

Final direction to staff was to build on information, and research how comparable cities are addressing beach parking.

“We don’t know what the common practice is,” Councilman Jack Feller said. “We’re aiming at the wrong thing here. I don’t think we’re solving a problem here.”

Councilman Chuck Lowery, along with Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, voted against postponing acceptance of new regulations. Lowery said he wants to set a goal on what needs to be resolved during future discussions, so City Council’s decision will be long lasting.

In other news Assistant City Manager and acting Interim City Manager Michelle Skaggs-Lawrence was offered and accepted the position of city manager. Conditions of her hire will be finalized at the City Council meeting Sept. 16.

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