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Downtown group pushes for permit parking

March 03, 2014|By Anthony Clark Carpio
  • Cars line the street at Seventh Street in between Walnut and Orange avenues.
Cars line the street at Seventh Street in between Walnut… (SCOTT SMELTZER…)

"Permit parking is coming to downtown. Like it. Hate it. It is happening."

Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn. President Kim Kramer uttered these words and versions of them repeatedly as he told residents in the downtown area of his organization's plan to bring residential permit parking in their neighborhoods.

More than 100 residents filled the multipurpose room at the Rodgers Seniors' Center on Wednesday evening as Kramer tried to convince them that having such a system would help address unwanted behavior downtown.

He and supporters of permit parking believe it's a way to keep rowdy, often inebriated, bar patrons from bothering residents. Currently, downtown visitors often park on residential areas to avoid paying for a spot.

Numerous residents have told stories of people getting into fights, relieving themselves on private property and drinking in vehicles before heading to downtown.

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"Many of us are tired of the late-night bar crowd parking in our neighborhoods and coming back to their cars at 2 o'clock in the morning causing all sorts of trouble," Kramer said.

Many residents in attendance, however, spoke in opposition to the idea, calling permits an extra tax on the people and saying the process would add another tentacle of government.

"It came off as a threat," resident Elaine Rosen said. "[Kramer] said it was going to happen and if you don't vote for it, it's still going to happen on Seventh Street, then go to Eighth and Ninth. Who says it is?"

The downtown residents association, a private citizens group, aims to enact permit parking for a portion of the downtown residential neighborhood, focusing solely on the streets between Sixth and 12th and from Palm to Walnut avenues.

According to Kramer's proposal, enforcement would be from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. He is requesting that residents pay the city $23 for one permit and two guest passes, which would all be good for five years. Additional permits for a household, up to four, could be purchased for $6 each. Additionally, Kramer said, residents should have the ability to print out 24-hour guest passes.

"We're going to get a gated community without the gates," Kramer said. "We're going to get all the late-night people out of our neighborhoods."

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