Newport seeks to install digital pay stations

In two applications sent earlier this week, Newport Beach asked the California Coastal Commission for permission to install digital parking pay stations in the lots at Corona del Mar State Beach and the Balboa Pier.

The City Council in February put aside $440,000 to transition those lots to automated payment systems. Previously, they had been staffed by parking attendants.

A staff report from that time said the city planned to install about a dozen pay stations at each parking lot by Memorial Day. The city operates 614 parking spaces in the Balboa lot and 517 spots at the Big Corona lot.

The new kiosks will allow beach visitors to make their payments in a variety of ways, including by cell phone, staff reports have said.

The Coastal Commission is tasked with determining whether development projects will infringe on public access to coastal areas.

According to both applications, "The city of Newport Beach believes that [the pay station installation] constitutes de minimis development."

Each pay station will have a footprint of about 1.25 square feet, the documents say.

In other words, because the 23 total kiosks will make up a "combined footprint" of less than 29 square feet, and because they will be placed "in the existing landscaped planters and hardscaped areas" bordering the lots, their installation won't make much of a difference in terms of access.

"These pay stations will be no more intrusive than the waste containers also placed there for the beach-user's convenience," the applications say.

The California Coastal Commission next meets from Aug. 14 to 16 in Santa Cruz. The agenda for that meeting has not yet been released, however, so it is unclear whether consideration of the applications will be on it.

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