The Newport Beach City Council this week denied a yacht charter company’s appeal of Lido Marina Village’s city-approved parking plan, steering clear of what some council members saw as a private parking dispute between a landlord and tenant.
Last spring, the shopping center’s management, DJM Capital Partners, changed its parking practices, allowing the use of nearby office building after regular business hours and letting employees to park for free in an onsite customer parking garage.
Previously, workers chose between two options: pay $85 a month to park at a medical office building about a mile and a half away and take a shuttle or seek free parking in the Finley Tract residential neighborhood across the street from the recently refurbished center. Many took their chances on the latter, to the dismay of residents.
In October, the city Planning Commission signed off on the changes. Lido Marina Village maintains its shuttle system for busy periods.
City planning staff recommended that the council uphold the commission’s decision because it allows flexibility.
DJM doesn’t need city approval for pricing in its private parking structure — namely, giving tenants’ employees free parking, said Jim Campbell, city deputy community development director.
But allowing employees of the center’s roughly 30 businesses to use the garage has become a problem for one of the tenants, Electra Cruises, the yacht charter company’s lawyer, Mark Huston, told the council Tuesday.
He said he didn’t know when DJM and the city began talks to amend the parking plan, but “we knew when all of a sudden all the employees starting parking in that structure, our guests started having problems.”
Huston said Lido Marina Village management failed to honor a private parking agreement with Electra and misled the city by not sharing the scope of the center’s parking circumstances.
DJM President Lindsay Parton said management is living up to its agreement. And, he said, Electra’s workers are using the garage too.
Huston told the council that Electra wasn’t asking the city to weigh in on the private arrangement with DJM but to be aware that some cruise guests end up parking in the same neighborhood where employees once went.
Parking frustrations are especially risky for Electra, Huston said, as boats promptly leave the docks as scheduled.
Many of the events are weddings with large guest lists, he said, and upset brides leave negative reviews online.
“It’s not missing a reservation at Nobu and being 10 minutes late,” Huston said, referring to an upscale restaurant at Lido Marina Village.
Several Finley Tract residents told the council that the Lido Marina Village-related parking and traffic spillover on their streets has been easing with the introduction of free employee garage use but is still an issue.
Councilwoman Diane Dixon said the matter is something Lido Marina Village and Electra should work out.
Councilman Scott Peotter said he hopes they can find a compromise.
“I do look at this as an internal squabble, and no matter what the squabble is, right now I see the Finley Tract paying the penalty,” he said.