Council raises parking fees

The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday approved fee increases aimed at providing more parking downtown and allowed the fees to be used for possible solutions, such as the Downtown Shuttle and Surf City Bike Valet programs, to the area's parking woes.

The City Council amended the Downtown Parking In-Lieu Fee Implementation Program to increase the fee property owners pay when they don't provide adequate on-site parking and allow that money to be used on various "parking opportunities." The amendment was approved, 5 to 1, with Mayor Cathy Green voting against it and Councilman Gil Coerper absent.

"I'm glad we're looking at alternative ways to satisfy the parking problem downtown," Mayor Pro-Tem Jill Hardy said.

The in-lieu fees are put into a fund dedicated to creating additional parking downtown.

The resolution increased the fee for each space a property owner doesn't build on site from $17,297 to $27,350.

It costs the city on average about $55,000 per stall, according to staff.

An alternative motion to increase the in-lieu fee to $35,000 was made, but failed with Councilmen Joe Carchio, Keith Bohr and Don Hansen voting against it.

Councilman Devin Dwyer, who made the motion to increase the fee to $35,000, said the city has been under-charging for years.

"I don't think we should be in the business of subsidizing parking in the downtown area," he said. "We want to incentivize getting the parking built on-site."

Hansen said the program is about creating incentives to build on-site, increasing development and bolstering new programs.

The amendment allows the funds to be used for alternative solutions to the downtown's parking problems through trolleys, shuttles and "other similar programs," according to staff reports.

The council also approved adding interest to property owners who chose to pay the fee over 15 years.

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