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Council looks to restrict beach RV parking

ENCINITAS — Beach parking in Encinitas might be a bit easier come next summer, as the City Council is looking into putting restrictions on the size of vehicles that can park in the lots.

The ordinance, introduced at the Sept. 11 council meeting, establishes vehicle length and width limits on South Coast Highway 101, adjacent to Cardiff State Beach, Moonlight Beach, Swami’s Beach, Grandview Beach, and Beacon’s Beach parking lots. Vehicles — by themselves or in combination — over 25 feet in length or 9 feet in width are not allowed. Tailgating is also banned, which means no awnings or slide outs may be erected and no chairs, tables, barbeques, or other recreational equipment may be used. These regulations would be in effect during the peak season, between the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Councilman Tony Krantz said he feels this is the appropriate first step in the process.

“I just think this is the right place to start, evaluate, and look to see if there are additional measures that we need to take to address issues as they arise,” he said.

City staff said every summer they get a “handful of emails” from people complaining about oversized vehicles taking up spaces in the lots. While RVs that are 25 feet by 9 feet are considered midsize and can typically fit in a standard parking space, larger RVs can extend to 40 feet in length. Staff said they worked with both the public works and the sheriff’s department to come up with some solutions. They reviewed the parking regulations for Cardiff State Beach and San Elijo State Beach and say the ordinance mimics what those state beaches currently do in their lots.

“We thought having uniformity along our coastline and our beach parking lots would be very helpful to both visitors and locals that are here,” said Jennifer Campbell, director of parks, recreation and cultural arts.

Campbell said that oversized vehicles parking in the lots are an issue and that a number of them are ticketed each year, especially at Moonlight Beach.

“And with parking being such a premium when you’ve got someone taking up three of four spaces it’s really tough, especially when you see families circling around trying to find a parking spot,” she said.

Councilman Joe Mosca said he thinks the ordinance is a reasonable approach, but wants to make sure they’re targeting the people who have very large RVs that don’t fit in a spot, or have “their entire dining room set up in their spot” and not simply just people with RV’s.

“We’re a beautiful city with six miles, seven miles of open, amazing coastline and I want to encourage people to be able to RV, I love RV’ing,” Mosca said. “I think that it’s a great way to see your country and see our amazing coastline. And so, I don’t want to penalize people.”

Mosca added that he wanted to be very cautious of spillover effects, as he doesn’t want to see the large RVs start parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Council also wanted to ensure people would be given plenty of warning about these changes and that proper signage along Hwy 101 and the beaches would let them know about the new rules and regulations.

No public comments were made on this topic. The council voted unanimously to move the ordinance forward. There will be a formal adoption of the ordinance at a future meeting.

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