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Perplexing Parking
Nancy Fisher | 24th Street

Proposed paid parking areas shown by blue line. Source: California Coastal Commission Addendum to Item F20a, Coastal Commission Permit Application No. 6-15-2123 (City of Del Mar), for the Commission Meeting of Friday, November 4, 2016, page 46. "
Click to enlarge.

Rumors are swirling in the Beach Colony about upcoming changes to the paid-parking situation, and residents have every right to be baffled – although maybe not as worried as some seem.

In December of 2015, the City of Del Mar submitted an application to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) for the addition of 180 new paid on-street parking spaces to the North Beach and Via de la Valle area of the community and proposed a variable parking rate of up to $3 per hour. This month the proposal met significant resistance by the CCC, as the proposed rates are higher than many similar coastal towns. Of more importance, though, the CCC challenged the legitimacy of many of our existing parking rates and restrictions that were evidently put in place without Coastal Development Permits (CDPs) approved by the Coastal Commission, particularly our signage that prohibits parking between 10pm-4am. In layman’s terms, the City was “busted” for past infractions not approved by the CCC, and as a result, all of the City’s paid parking areas in the Coastal zone were required to be incorporated into the current request.

The unpermitted parking prohibition signage was installed in 2005 in an attempt to control loud late night parties and vandalism that often required the City’s limited park ranger and enforcement staff to call for support from law enforcement. The CCC, however, points to existing noise ordinances and curfews as ways to address these nuisances without a ban.

The permit for the paid parking program was granted reluctantly (with the word “reluctantly” actually used by several Commissioners) by the CCC, but will not be signed by the City until presented to Del Mar’s Traffic Advisory and Parking Committee (TPAC) and to the City Council, and would be required to operate under the following parameters:

• Variable hourly parking fees of between $0-$3 year round.
• No maximum parking duration.
• Maximum day-use fee of $15 year-round.
• Hours of payment operation between 8:00 am - 10:00 pm, with no parking allowed between 2:00 am - 4:00 am year-round, except on Coast Boulevard between 17th Street and 15th Street and on both sides of Camino Del Mar between Via de la Valle and the San Dieguito River mouth,” where the CCC declined to allow any restriction on overnight parking. Currently there is no overnight restriction on Coast Blvd. between 17th Street and 15th Street so this requirement just acknowledges the status quo in that location, unlike the change at North Beach which eliminates the current posted restrictions.
• Permit time limit of 5 years with an option to renew.
• Establishment of a separate account to receive the proposed parking fee and expenditure of the revenue on services (60%) and new public access improvements (40%); and
• Annual monitoring reports.

Existing paid parking, with current signage, on the west side of Camino Del Mar across from The Brigantine restaurant. Photo Tom Nelson.  Click to enlarge.

However, because the City has not yet signed the permit, TPAC can meet and discuss this issue, with public input, before any action is taken. They can then forward a recommendation to the City Council, who in turn can 1) accept the conditions and move forward; 2) accept the conditions, and monitor for the reoccurrence of prior problems, filing a new CDP to change; or 3) request an amendment to the Permit or request the CCC to reconsider the conditions that were approved. There is no certainty of the outcome of any such CCC requests. It is possible that stricter conditions could be added by the CCC that would not favor Del Mar as well as the possibility that the conditions could be changed in Del Mar’s favor.



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