Parking in a handicapped space without a handicapped permit now costs $50 more in Laguna Beach.
The City Council increased fines Sept. 4 for those who illegally park in spaces marked for the disabled, at the recommendation of the city’s Parking/Traffic/Circulation Committee.
The fine increase goes into effect immediately.
The council voted to increase the fines from $250 to $300, less than the $350 proposed by the Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee, but less harsh than another suggestions.
“Personally, I think they [violators] should be shot,” Mayor Pro Tem Jane Egly joked.
Although blocked by law and her own code of conduct from that recourse, Egly sided at first with the staff recommendation against the increase.
“I am reluctant to increase the fines,” City Manager Ken Frank said. “We get more complaints about parking tickets than all the other complaints combined.”
However, Mayor Toni Iseman pointed out that ticketed usurpers of disabled parking spaces are not among the complainers.
“I suggest raising the fine to $400, but I will settle for $350,” Iseman said.
Councilman Kelly Boyd mediated a compromise.
“Lets split the difference and make it $300,” said Boyd, who narrowly carried the day.
The vote was 3-2 in favor of the increase, Council members Elizabeth Schneider and Cheryl Kinsman opposed.
The council declined to pursue the committee’s recommendation to widen S. Coast Highway at Broadway for a right turn, but approved the use of police officers, when available, to facilitate traffic during peak periods.
City staff opposed the widening recommendation based on the need for a traffic mitigation plan before implementation, the opinion being that the proposal is not the most efficient and cost-effective way to create a right hand turn. Lastly, the city’s General Plan and Downtown Specific Plan discourage widening the highway to create additional lanes.
The proposal was denied 4-1, Boyd opposed
A $5,000 appropriation was approved to install bike racks at the city’s parking lots on Glenneyre Street, Ocean Avenue and on Main Beach at the mid-year budget update, as recommended by the committee. Approved 5-0
Parking restrictions for the 300 block of Radcliff Court were approved 4-0 as requested by the committee to ensure adequate emergency access.
Iseman recused herself because she owns property in the noticing area of the project and is banned by state law from participating in the discussion on the dais or the vote on the project.