SAN CLEMENTE : Residential Parking Fee Raise Rejected

After protests from dozens of residents, the City Council this week voted 4 to 0 to reject a proposal to charge residents of Avenida Montolvo and Avenida Lobeiro $40 for an annual parking pass.

Instead, the residents will continue to pay $10 a year for permits to park on their streets, which border San Clemente State Beach and are often heavily crowded by beach-goers.

The council also voted to place a two-hour limit on parking for non-residents from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Previously, the two-hour time limit for non-residents had been enforced at all times.

The city Planning Commission had recommended that the council adopt the parking fee increase, which would also have allowed residents to park free at the beach or in any city-owned metered parking lots.

But residents, angered by the proposal, submitted a petition signed by more than 100 neighbors to voice opposition.

"The cure to the parking problems that the city is proposing is worse than the disease," resident Mary Ellen Leach said shortly before the vote. "It's a distressful situation and grossly unfair. There is no basis, nor is it reasonable, to charge $40 for people to park on a residential street."

Resident Margaret Joseph told the council that the proposed increase was "outrageous" and "obscene."

"Having us pay $40 just so we can park in front of our own homes is just ridiculous," Joseph said.

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