The Beverly Hills City Council will decide Tuesday whether to double fees for residential parking permits, the biggest increase since the parking program began in 1977.
Three council members said they would favor increasing the permit fees from $5.35 to $10 after residents complained about a decision by Environmental Services Department officials to increase the one-year permits to $20. The council can override that decision.
Council members Donna Ellman, Maxwell Salter and Robert Tanenbaum pledged to support the $10 fee. Mayor Charlotte Spadaro and Vice Mayor Benjamin H. Stansbury Jr. said they favor a $7 fee.
Los Angeles charges $20 a year for similar permits.
Previous increases in fees in Beverly Hills' 24 residential-parking zones were based on the rate of inflation. The city allows residents to purchase up to three permits each year, and many residents buy them for family members and guests.
4,600 Permits Annually
Mark Scott, director of the Environmental Services Department, said the city issued about 4,600 permits last year, raising $25,000 in revenue. But the cost of putting up parking signs, printing permits, billing residents and answering residents' complaints cost the city about $80,000 annually, he said.
Gloria Seiff, a member of the Southwest Homeowners Assn. who lives in the city's southwestern commercial hub, said the increase was unfair and amounted to a tax.
"Preferential parking has made it liveable for us in the southwest part of town. It's something that we have to have for our quality of life. I don't think that the people . . . should be taxed for the privilege of parking in front of their house," she said.
Esther Brenner, president of Beverly Angeles Homeowners, said the city put through the $20 fee without asking residents' views.
"Our concern was not only the increase in fees but that there was no public input. It was just arbitrary for them to put it through without our discussing it," she said.
The permit program was instituted by the City Council after residents living near business districts complained that out-of-towners were parking on their streets, particularly near the popular Rodeo Drive.
Resident permit holders are allowed unlimited parking in their neighborhoods. Non-permit holders in most zones are prohibited from parking between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Mayor Spadaro said the city is trying to encourage the building of new parking structures in business areas and conversion of monthly parking garages into temporary parking for shoppers. Doing so would eventually eliminate the need for residential parking permits, she said.
"Until we have enough parking to accommodate all the people who come into the business districts, we need something to protect people from having their streets lined with shoppers going to business areas, which happened before we instituted the parking program," Spadaro said. "It's an interim solution and I think it's working well."