“I’ve gone through wars, and I don’t understand, in a peaceful city, how this is acceptable,” Pap said.
Downtown, which covers 1.5% of the city, makes up 11% of the calls the Huntington Beach Police Department responds to, Small said. The department also made 900 arrests downtown last year, and more than 600 of them were alcohol- and drug-related, he said. The small area has 10% of the city’s alcohol licenses in its 2.4 square miles, Small said.
“The last 10 years, being a downtown resident has been hell .... We have very expensive homes in this area, and we’ve had to put up with a lot of [garbage] because of these businesses,” resident Susan Worthy said.
The permit parking zones would restrict parking in the neighborhoods to residents and ticket visitors who are parking on the streets when they frequent the bars. The proposed system would likely restrict parking in neighborhoods from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in some neighborhoods and from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. for streets in the coastal zone. Any streets in the coastal zones would have get approval for parking restrictions from the California Coastal Commission.
“I think it’s going to be very effective and add to the quality of life for residents,” said Kim Kramer, the spokesman for the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn.
Residents would be required to buy permits for themselves and temporary passes for their guests at a small fee. One permit and two guest permits would cost about $50 a year the first year and are expected to drop to about $23 a year after that.
Violators would be given a $41 ticket, and Small has pledged to enforce the permit zones if they ever come to fruition.
Huntington Beach has parking permit zones in place in 10 districts, Stachelski said.
“It does work, and we get very few complaints about the effectiveness of the parking permits once in place,” he said.
Some residents wanted to know why they should change because of other people’s bad behavior. Twelfth Street resident Robert Spellmire said permit parking isn’t going to fix the problem.
“With these permits, you are penalizing the property owners for something they didn’t do,” Spellmire said.