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San Luis Obispo City Council votes to pursue parking ordinance to address business parking concerns

Randol White

The San Luis Obispo City Council voted last night to pursue a parking permit program for commercial properties in order to address concerns of people parking in front of businesses they aren’t actually visiting.

Some areas in San Luis Obispo are free to park, while others require a paid permit.

Parking Services Supervisor Alex Fuchs said the city has a problem with people often taking advantage of the current system.

“Businesses are becoming impacted by parking from those that do not work or live in their area," Fuchs said. "In a similar fashion as how residential areas have been impacted by non-resident parking for decades.”

Fuchs said people will often park in front of a business or home that they aren’t visiting in order to avoid paying for parking elsewhere.

For commercial businesses, this limits the access for customers and employees.

Fuchs said a preferential permit parking district ordinance would allow commercial areas to establish a paid parking system, in order to stop people from abusing free parking areas.

“The amendments would not apply to downtown businesses, or any other areas where the city has already established paid parking," Fuchs said.

Gavin Hussey, the parking program manager for the City of San Luis Obispo, said the area mostly impacted by people abusing free parking is near South Higuera Street between Prado and Tank Farm Roads.

But the process of establishing a paid parking district won’t happen overnight.

“It does require us to go out and meet with property owners and tenants and get buy-in from them," Hussey said. "We do have to go through a mailing process and get the votes back in, and then it’s several months for us to actually establish a district after the council approves it.”

Hussey said it would take a 60 percent majority of businesses or properties in the area in support of a district formation before the city council can approve a paid parking area.

The city council has voted to pursue the ordinance as a one-year pilot program, and a second reading of the ordinance will be brought back to city council at a later date before its formally adopted.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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