Pro-rated shopper permits on sale

Don't drive yourself crazy if you've realized you bought a shopper parking permit for next year when you already had a valid one through next July.

The city will refund the fee for the superfluous sticker, if it is returned to City Hall.

"We are getting a few requests for permits from people who already purchased theirs last year," said Nancy Pauley, city finance officer. "They may be confusing them with the residential parking permit, which is valid for only one year."

Full-term shopper permits are sold every two years, but the city sells pro-rated permits at half price for the second year of the two-year cycle, which began Aug. 1.

City officials say the permits are a bargain.

"At $40 a year, they cost less than $3.50 a month or the equivalent of one parking ticket a year," City Manager John Pietig said.

All current shopper permits, whether for two years or one year, expire July 31, 2012. Vehicle owners with a valid shopper permit will be notified by mail when the permit is due to expire.

"Expiration will also be posted on the city's website and most likely published in the local paper," Pauley said.

The city issues between 7,000 and 8,000 of the permits each year, said Gavin Curran, city director of finance and information tech services.

Only Laguna Beach residents are eligible for the permits, and proof of residency is required. Acceptable proof includes pre-printed checks; a driver's license or state identification card; a utility bill showing the applicant's name and service address; vehicle registration; or a rental or lease agreement. A post office box number does not qualify.

The permits allow parking at eligible meters and lots throughout town, for the posted times. They are not valid on Laguna Canyon Road north of Forest Avenue — except at the Bark Park — or the adjacent Frontage Road during festival season. They also can't be used for Aliso Beach parking or in the Lumberyard and Forest/Laguna Canyon lots.

Permits are limited to four per household. Half-term shopper permits cost $40 for the first two stickers and $75 each for the third and fourth stickers. They may be bought on the city's website or at City Hall, Pauley said. A copy of DMV registration must accompany requests for three or more permits.

Stickers must be affixed to the left corner of the vehicle's bumper below the taillight or in the lower left corner of the rear window.

The permits are not transferable from one vehicle to another. If a stickered vehicle is sold, a replacement for a new vehicle is available for $2 if the current sticker is returned to City Hall.

If the stickered vehicle is damaged in an accident, and the sticker can't be presented for replacement, proper insurance documentation must be provided.

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Annual stickers

Non-residents 65 or older are eligible for a one-year shopper parking permit at a cost of $130.

"The city usually issues about 25 [of those] permits," Curran said.

Restrictions and conditions for the seniors' permits differ from regular shopper permits because applicants must provide proof of age and only one permit may be bought per address.

About 200 residents whose addresses are on file also qualify for one-year parking stickers that are valid for 24 hours at meters within one block of their homes or any eligible meters in town, Curran said.

The permits cost $200, and all restrictions and requirements for shopper permits apply.

Restrictions and privileges are different for permits issued to business owners and their employees in the Central Business District.

The business parking permit is a one-year deal at a cost of $300 for Aug. 1 to July 31, 2012, pro-rated Feb. 1 to $150.

Stickered vehicles are permitted to park for a maximum of 12 hours at approved meters at specified locations: Cliff Drive between Aster Street and Acacia Drive; along the brick east wall of the upper level of the Glenneyre Parking Structure; Forest and Laguna Canyon lots between posted signs; and on the eastbound side of Laguna Canyon Road weekdays during the school year.

Spaces are not guaranteed, but the permit is not valid anyplace else in town.

Applicants must show proof of business ownership: a paycheck stub or a letter written by an employer on company stationery.

The same restrictions on transfers or replacement for other permits are applicable.

No permits in any category will be issued if parking citations are outstanding. Applications for any permit must include the VIN or license plate number.

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