City’s parking board requests limits to oversized vehicle

A proposed ordinance to limit parking for oversized vehicles on city streets could appear in La Jolla as a pilot program after undergoing significant revisions.

The city’s Parking Advisory Board decided May 18 to recommend to the City Council’s land-use and housing committee that they implement the proposed ordinance for 12 months on a trial basis in one or two neighborhoods in the city.

The ordinance was sent back for revision after encountering stiff resistance from residents when it first appeared before the City Council in April 2005. The original plan would have prohibited parking oversized vehicles and non-motorized vehicles, such as boat trailers, on any street for longer than four hours. It would have prohibited parking those vehicles on any street between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. on any day, as well as prohibiting parking any of the vehicles within 50 feet of an intersection.

City Council President Scott Peters and former City Councilman Michael Zucchet introduced the ordinance based on concerns with aesthetics and safety. Recreational vehicles can block views and clutter streets, as well as create dangerous blind intersections by obstructing drivers’ vision, they argued.

Opponents of the proposed ordinance, mostly recreational vehicle owners, argued that the ordinance would have made it nearly impossible to own such a vehicle in the city. They said storage facilities for recreational vehicles in the city are limited and expensive, which Peters and Zucchet disputed. They also complained that it would be nearly impossible to prepare a recreational vehicle for a trip if they could not park it in front of their homes overnight the night before.

The new proposal would have no time limit for oversized and non-motorized vehicles from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It would prohibit parking the vehicles on the street from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., but would allow drivers to obtain overnight permits.

The overnight permits would allow recreational vehicle owners to park in front of their homes as they prepare for trips. Recreational vehicle owners would register for the program in person, then would be allowed to access an online permit issuing system. A recreational vehicle owner could buy multiple permits per transaction, each good for eight hours, at a cost of $3 per permit.

The permits woud require proof of residence and that the vehicle be parked directly in front of the residence. The permit program would allow for up to 72 overnight stays per year with a maximum of three consecutive overnight stays per permit. A minimum of one night away after three consecutive overnight stays would be required before the next permit is used.

The parking advisory board chose not to recommend an alternate proposal that would have allowed recreational vehicle owners to obtain an annual permit for the overnight stays, instead of the per-use permits.

The board also voted to not recommend a specific neighborhood where the pilot program should be implemented.

“They thought the City Council should make that decision,” said Melissa Tintocalis, community parking district program manager for the city. “Some council members have suggested parts of their districts, but the board didn’t feel comfortable making the decision.”

Peters has said he would like to see the program implemented in La Jolla.

“I am strongly recommending La Jolla be slated for that spot,” Peters said.

Many La Jolla residents, particularly those on the coast, are hoping he gets his way. Mary Ellen Forbes, a resident of the 400 block of Coast Boulevard, said some recreational vehicle owners have made her block their permanent home.

“The past several years, our street has been inundated with huge RV parking,” she said. “There’s one person who has been a permanent resident on my street for 27 years now.”

A date has not yet been set for the proposal to come before the land-use and housing committee.