Resident-only parking privileges will continue in the so-called "Quiet Zone," an area near Mozambique Steak House.
The City Council voted 3 to 2 Tuesday to continue the preferential parking program meant to quell residents' objections to noisy bar patrons.
Councilman Kelly Boyd appeared to waver before voting for the continuation, based on his concern for the economic outlook for the restaurant if denied its entertainment component.
"Business is tough all over town," Boyd said. "My favorite art gallery just closed in the Old Pottery Place. I don't want to see that happen to Mozambique."
The continuation of the zone, perhaps with some minor tweaking, was not favored by the majority of speakers at Tuesday's meeting.
"A number of people have contacted me in total support (of the zone), but they are not here tonight so the impression is negative," said Mayor Toni Iseman, who voted with Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson and Boyd for the continuation.
However, Iseman indicated consternation about at least one complaint.
"I was leaving Mozambique with a friend at about 11:15 p.m.," Iseman said. "My friend said, 'Can you believe how quiet it is?' Then I got a phone call complaining about the noise at 11:15 that night."
Iseman invited people to submit ideas for improvement of the zone, excluding closing Mozambique.
Twenty-four speakers voiced their opinions Tuesday, but were limited to two minutes because so many wanted to speak.
Supporters went first.
"I have no problem with the noise or the public nuisance at all," said Ken Fischbeck, a resident of Pearl Street. "Ivan (Mozambique owner Ivan Spiers) and his people have done a wonderful job."
Former city planner Tamara Campbell said she has lived near Mozambique for 10 years and considers the parking restrictions a successful program.
"The creation of the Quiet Zone was a brilliant and effective solution," Campbell said.
Sheila Patterson said most of her neighbors walk up Agate Street to Mozambique.
"It's quiet," Patterson said. "I just appreciated what a creative solution you (council) came up with."
The zone was designed to muffle late-night noise that disturbs Woods Cove residents who live within blocks of Mozambique. The council approved a trial program at the Feb, 15 meeting, split the same way as Tuesday's vote — with Mayor Pro Tem Jane Egly and Councilwoman Verna Rollinger opposed.
Both feel the root problem has not been addressed — the conversion of a restaurant to a nightclub, which they said is not appropriate in a residential neighborhood.
The zone is a compromise reached by restaurant representatives and neighbors — but not all of them — to resolve complaints about the conduct of Mozambique patrons who were parking on nearby streets.
Night-time parking is restricted to vehicles with shopper's permits or resident-specific guest passes from Center Street to, but not including Bluebird Canyon Drive, and up from Glenneyre Street to, but not including Carmelita Street.
Preferential parking, however, was not supposed to be the main driver of the program.
"This is not about parking, it about noise," Iseman said at the February meeting.
However, Boyd expressed surprise Tuesday at the number of complaints from residents that said the preferential parking was more objectionable than the noise generated by Mozambique.
"This didn't start as parking issue, but it is now," said Charlotte Bell. "I am here because I can't park when I get home, and my brother got a ticket. I do not recommend the continuation of the zone."
Resident Kristy Burns doesn't live in the Quiet Zone, but she said she wishes she did.
"What happens is that everyone is coming down to my place and parking," Burns said. "I would just like to see me and my neighbors get the benefits of the Quiet Zone."
"I hate it, I hate it, I hate it," said Sue Salomon, whose husband, Peter, asked the council to eliminate the block on Center Street between Carmelita and Catalina streets from the zone.
No changes were contemplated Tuesday.
Boyd and Iseman will meet with residents to get ideas to improve the operation of the program. Funding will be covered by an estimated $22,800 in annual revenue from parking citations, which will also pay to make parking signs more reflective.
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