The Huntington Beach City Council took steps Monday to help reduce an increase in oversize vehicles parking for long periods near parks and on residential streets and public highways.
With a 7-0 vote, the council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would restrict recreational vehicles more than 22 feet long or 84 inches wide from parking on any public street, highway or alley without a permit.
Police Chief Robert Handy told council members that the proposed municipal code amendment, which requires final approval at a future council meeting, is intended to “enhance pedestrian and traffic safety” and address parking issues.
The proposal also includes a tiered penalty system for multiple violations. Violators are currently fined $82. The proposal suggests a $162 fine for a second violation and $246 for a third.
Under the proposal, RVs would need a permit to be parked on the street near local parks. Currently, Handy said, RVs are allowed to be parked near parks for two hours without a permit.
Councilman Patrick Brenden said he was concerned the change would result in RVs being left in parking lots at city parks.
“That could happen,” Handy said. “There’s ripple effects to every change we do.”
Handy said authorities would watch for any unintended consequence and discuss ways to address it.
Handy said his department also is working to allow only residents to buy permits in the near future. Some exceptions would be made for people visiting homeowners in Huntington Beach with their RVs. Officials didn’t say how much an RV parking permit would cost.
Tourists with RVs can park with a permit in designated areas such as beach campgrounds, Handy said.
Councilman Billy O’Connell said he was concerned the city would get a reputation for being unfriendly to RVs.
The challenge the city faces with visitors is when they park in front of a home near the beach and stay there for days, Handy said. It causes traffic hazards and they take up multiple parking spaces, he added.
The city has issued 7,964 RV permits this year and 160,444 since 2005.
Partnership with three housing organizations
In other business Monday, the council unanimously approved three 21-month agreements with organizations that provide housing to the homeless.
Interval House, Mercy House and Families Forward will work with police and the city’s Homeless Task Force to offer short- to medium-term rental assistance. The city has partnered with Interval House since 2015 and Mercy House since 2016.
Funding will be provided by grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and fees paid by developers in place of providing affordable housing in projects.
A homeless person receiving services from the organizations costs them an average of $700 to $970 a month, according to a city staff report. That includes rental assistance, household inspections and other services.
A client is expected to pay a portion of the rent each month, with the portion gradually increased until the person can manage it alone.