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Update: Beach Parking Fees Get Nod From Coastal Commission Staff, But City Wants Delay

The California Coastal Commission is set to vote on the city's application to set parking fees at both Linda Mar Beach parking lots next week, but the city has asked for a delay so it can consider extra conditions tacked onto its proposal.

Update, 4:02p.m.

Pacifica City Councilman Len Stone said the city has requested that the CCC's vote on its application to implement parking fees at Linda Mar Beach be postponed until February, although the CCC has not yet amended next week's agenda to reflect that request. 

"(City) staff is going to come back to the council in January with the (additional) conditions [CCC staff tacked onto the city's proposal] and ask how the council wants to proceed," he said. 

For more on those conditions, read the article below. 

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The California Coastal Commission will vote on Pacifica's request to establish parking fees at both  parking lots in February. 

The California Coastal Commission (CCC), which regulates development and sets land use policy along the entire California coast, staff has recommended that the commission approve the application, which was filed in June, with some slight alterations. 

Revenue raised through the parking fees will go toward maintaining the beach and adjacent facilities, such as the bathrooms, parking lots and showers. The money will also go toward the salaries of two beach rangers, police officers' pay as they patrol the beach and toward the city's , which is meant to educate the public and prevent damage to the bird's fragile resting grounds. 

According to correspondence between the CCC and former Pacifica City Attorney Cecilia Quick, parking for all users of the beach, Pacifica resident or otherwise, would cost $3 for less than 4 hours and $6 for more. An annual parking pass, which would cost $50, would also be available. Beach goers would pay the fees at three meters that the city would install if the CCC approves the application.

Parking at Linda Mar Beach, which former Captain Dave Bertini told City Manager Stephen Rhodes was the most used beach in San Mateo County, has always been free, athough efforts to establish parking fees there date back to the early '90s. The CCC has approved applications like Pacifica's in the past; take Santa Cruz as an example. 

In the CCC staff report about the application, it's stated that potential fees at Linda Mar are relatively low compared to other State Park beaches, however. 

CCC staff indicated in their recommendation to the commission that special care be taken in the case that the parking fees increase foot traffic to the beach, which poses a threat to the vegetated dunes and San Pedro Creek. 

In addition to or modifying the conditions set in the city's proposal, CCC staff recommends that:

 1) A requirement for a monitoring program to document any impacts to public access, or the unauthorized establishment of additional public trails down to the beach particularly at the north end;

2) Approval of the implementation of parking fees on a trial three-year basis;

3) After three years, if the permittee wishes to continue the fee program, a new coastal development permit or permit amendment will be required and the results of the monitoring will be used to confirm that the development authorized under this permit has not resulted in impacts to coastal resources, including public access, that cannot be appropriately mitigated.

The CCC has put the city's application on the agenda for its upcoming meeting at the Aquarium of the Bay on Pier 39 in San Francisco on Dec. 7 at 9a.m., but the city has requested that it delay a vote until February so it has time to review the additional conditions CCC staff recommended. 

The CCC has not yet ammended its agenda to reflect the city's request for a postponement. 

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Lionel Emde December 05, 2011 at 01:04 AM
These attempts to plug funding holes with further fees charged to the public certainly haven't worked out in the case of automatic cameras catching red-light violaters. The equipment is costly and guess what? People fight back.
Gabriela Segovia-McGahan December 05, 2011 at 03:52 AM
That's something to think about. What if visitors park in residential areas to avoid parking fees? What about the litter? Are the homeowners responsible for pick up? What if someone gets hurt in front of their home? Who is responsible for covering the damages/medical expenses? Will Pacifica residents get a waiver on the fee since their property taxes pay into this in some way already?
Steve Sinai December 05, 2011 at 07:49 AM
Reduced parking rates for locals was discussed a few years ago. I believe the state said no, since it was a state beach, paid for by state taxpayers,
Todd Bray December 05, 2011 at 11:59 AM
Several years ago during the restoration (Beach) I was in favor of a voluntary parking sticker program that at the time about $30 annually. The thought was those that use the beach regularly would get a notice on their cars similar looking to a ticket that would explain the voluntary sticker concept and ask them to participate. It was also thought that surfers who regularly used the beach would participate voluntarily out of gratitude for the beach projects massive facilities upgrades. Unfortunately senior staff at the time had a very cynical view of this idea and were in favor of a hardware solution like a parking fee machine, things that are now fairly common. Adding hardware really over complicates the issue as we are seeing. If staff are rethinking this issue I'd suggest the idea that came out of committee's state above.
Debs Carsey December 06, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Seems like the owners and customers of the two nearby shopping centers as well as Taco Bell should be highly concerned if this happens. Parking at those two lots will quickly become impossible, even during weekdays. Seems to me the loss of revenue when shoppers skip their shopping center because they don't want to deal with the parking would be a negative thing for the city of Pacifica. Common sense to me also would make me concerned about the loss of yet more tourist dollars from those who may want to stop at the only visible shopping center on Highway 1 in Pacifica and can't find a space. I also have to ask... What about that HUGE empty parking lot set aside for park and ride that is always empty? If parking is such an issue what is the deal with that acreage?

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