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Preferential parking on council docket

The Laguna Beach City Council will take up the divisive topic of preferential parking at its 6 p.m. Tuesday meeting.

The council will try to decide whether to impose a residential preferential parking system in the Flatlands area of mid-town Laguna Beach. The program would allow residents with a permit to be exempt from some or all parking restrictions within the preferential parking district. 

Many residents in the area complain that employees and customers of local businesses are using neighborhood parking spots and disturbing the area early in the morning and late at night.  

Business owners and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce have lobbied against preferential parking, noting that a city study of parking in the area showed that businesses were harmed when street parking was reduced. 

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The parking issue has also split city representatives. The City council-appointed Parking/Traffic/Circulation Committee recommended against preferential parking after a lengthy study. But the Planning Commission recommended in June that the council approve a pilot preferential parking program. 

If the council moves forward with preferential parking, it will have to decide the boundaries of the district, which could extend to Nyes Place, according to a staff report. The council will also need to determine whether and how to recoup the cost of the program, which is expected to require additional staff members to implement and enforce. 

The council meets in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. 

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net

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