Downtown residents get to speak up

Downtown residents and city officials are coming together to discuss ongoing drinking and parking issues at a town hall meeting at the Shorebreak Hotel on March 4.

The Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn. is holding the meeting to find out residents’ feelings about creating residential-only parking permit zones.

“We want to hear from the residents about what they think about residential parking zones,” said Kim Kramer, the association’s spokesperson. “We want this to be a real town hall meeting with participation from the residents.”

The idea for creating the parking zones was brought forth by the Downtown Image Committee’s public safety subcommittee, Police Chief Ken Small said. The proposed system would likely be implemented from about 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday through Sunday to keep bar-going visitors off residential streets, Kramer said. Violators would be fined about $40, Small said.

Right now, visitors park in the neighborhoods to drink in their cars, get out of paying to park in the structures and avoid getting pulled over for drinking and driving, Kramer said.

“It’s going to take the late-night revelers ... and it’s going to force them to park somewhere other than our neighborhoods,” Kramer said.

The visitors cause a disturbance in the neighborhoods when they leave the bars and urinate, defecate, fornicate and wreck property on the way to their cars, Kramer said.

Small said he is behind the idea and has made a commitment to enforcing the parking restrictions if it comes to fruition. To get the residential parking permit system off the ground will take a commitment by the residents, who would have to petition the city, Small said.

Residents will have the chance to ask questions and hear about the proposal. Small, City Councilmen Devin Dwyer and Joe Carchio, and City Transportation Manager Bob Stachelski will make up the panel.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Shorebreak Hotel in the Strand at 500 Pacific Coast Hwy.

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