Council Ponders Rules For Permits
By Lynne Bronstein
There’s no doubt that parking is a major concern of Culver City residents. The City Council meeting Monday night dealt with the subject and gave direction to city staff on the issue of permit parking.
The council chamber was packed.
Thirty speakers weighed in during public comment on the city’s proposed changes to the Residential Permit Parking Program (RPPP). Because parking is such a stressful topic however, some of the comments were not specific to the proposed changes but were simply tales of parking woes encountered by long-time Culver City residents.
Culver City’s parking program was established in 1978. Subsequent revisions to the procedures and regulations for preferential parking zones were adopted in 1989, 2004, and 2009.
Currently the PPP provides for two types of residential parking: time-limited (metered) parking (except by permit) and parking by permit only. Time-limited parking means that no motor vehicle is allowed to park beyond the posted time limit, (typically twohours, Monday through Saturday, 8 am to 6 pm), unless the vehicle displays a valid residential preferential parking permit or a guest paper permit.
Under parking by permit only, no motor vehicle is allowed to park at any time unless the vehicle displays a valid residential preferential parking permit or a guest paper permit.
Gabe Garcia of Culver City’s Public Works Department explained in a very thorough staff report how the city has three proposed methods for regulating parking permits. In the first method, Culver City would be divided into twelve residential parking districts (RPDs) with specific boundaries.
Those streets within the proposed districts that already have permit parking restrictions will have their restrictions adopted into the new RPDs. Streets and frontages that do not have parking restrictions at this time will have the potential to become permit parking restricted but will stay as they are unless residents petition for changes compliant with the criteria contained in the proposed PPP.
Another method proposed would involve parking restrictions based on land development projects. For this method, the lead City Department or Division working with the development determines if the residents in attendance at community meetings desire and support permit parking restrictions and preliminarily identifies which parking restriction (time-limited or permit only) is supported.
The third method proposed would be based on traffic engineering studies.
The aspect of the proposed changes that seemed to irk residents most involved fees for additional permits. It was noted by both public speakers and council members that these days, many households contain more than one driver and in fact, may contain several members with cars. This would require households to purchase more than two parking permits.
Currently, the PPP allows purchase of two preferential permits per resident. The proposed changes would allow that number to be increased from two to four. The fee for the first two permits would remain unchanged but for the third and fourth permits the fee would be based on the Hardship Consideration Fee in the existing PPP, which is $444 for the fiscal year 2013-2014.
This fee did not guarantee that a third or fourth permit would be issued, since the issue was dependent upon the configuration of the lot or buildings.
For the proposed PPP the fee will be $222, applied to each of the third and fourth permits. The issuance of the third or fourth permits will be guaranteed and will no longer be based on building configuration but on family need.
While staff may have thought that $222 was “affordable,” many of the public speakers disagreed. The price was also of concern to Vice Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, who said she had received many emails from concerned residents.
Garcia explained that the price proposed ($222) was simply half of the existing hardship cost ($444). Staff had thought it a “friendlier” fee but Garcia admitted that it could be looked at by council.
Sahli-Wells suggested a compromise of $100 or maybe $150 for the third and fourth permits—provided that families could offer proof that the other family members needed the permits.
The Council voted for the compromise fee of $100 for the third and $150 for the fourth permits.
The PPP also contained provisions for visitor parking permits. These include no charge permits for the first 144 visitor paper passes in the year, up to 25 one-day pre-dated visitor paper passes per calendar year, and up to three annual medical care giver permits when a family needs in-home medical care.
Provisions were also outlined for parking for CCUSD schools. While school campuses provide on-site parking in most cases, some schools have insufficient on-site parking.
According to the proposed PPP, if most streets immediately adjacent to a CCUSD facility have implemented preferential permit parking, or at the discretion of the Director of Public Works/City Engineer, then the CCUSD Superintendent and school principal may petition the Director of Public Works/City Engineer to reserve the immediately adjacent on-street parking spaces on the same side of the street as the CCUSD facility to be used by school staff, volunteers, and visitors.
Karlo Silbiger of the Culver City School Board recommended the schools be allowed to use street space in front of the schools for additional parking but added that he hoped Council would allow for “flexibility” for the schools in regard to parking.
The City Council gave tentative approval to the revised PPP, with direction to staff to prepare the necessary resolution for presentation at an upcoming City Council meeting.