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SLO businesses can now require permits for parking. Here’s what that looks like

Rachel Showalter

The San Luis Obispo City Council voted to amend the city's Parking Permit Program to help local commercial businesses address on-street parking impacts.

The update allows commercial properties in San Luis Obispo to now create specialized parking districts which would require the use of permits to park on certain streets. The program previously only allowed district formation for residential areas.

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

Fuchs said the updates to the parking permit program allow permits to be issued directly to occupants of business districts based on individual needs instead of a set amount.

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

Fuchs said these changes also won’t impact existing or future residential parking permit districts or predominantly mixed-use areas.

Gaven Hussey is the parking program manager for the city. He said the department has increased staff over time to address community needs, but this addition of commercial parking permit districts likely won’t require a need for more employees.

“Right now, with our intent to transition to virtual permits next year, current staffing levels should be able to accommodate that,” Hussey said.

He said the department’s use of license plate recognition software will help identify violations in parking districts faster than is currently done with visual patrols.

Hussey said the city won’t see any immediate change with the amendments to the program. He said implementing a parking district is a months-long process.

“It does require us to go out and meet with property owners or 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 the district after council approves it.”

Hussey said fees for establishing commercial parking permit districts are the same as residential districts.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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