MANHATTAN BEACH — About two-thirds of the business representatives polled by the Chamber of Commerce oppose allowing valet parking services to use public parking lots.
The chamber sent about 400 surveys to its members and received 104 responses by the Dec. 19 deadline, said Trudy Smart, chamber manager.
The City Council tentatively decided Dec. 2 to forbid valet parking services from using city streets or other public parking areas after several business owners complained that valets for Wiliker's restaurant were using the public parking structure at Morningside Drive and Center Place.
The 290-seat restaurant opened in early November and other business managers said their restaurants were hurt by its valets' use of public spaces.
Valet Service Stopped
Dave Fansler, owner of Wiliker's, said he stopped providing valet parking Dec. 3 because of the merchants' complaints. He said he and 5 to 10 other business representatives are studying the downtown's parking shortage and the possibility of renewing a valet service.
"I think valet (parking) is the short-term solution for a long-term problem," he added.
Smart said 67 of the survey respondents said valet parking on public property should be prohibited and 37 said it should be allowed. Public property, for purposes of the survey, did not include on-street parking.
Thirty respondents said that if valets are allowed to use public spaces, the hours should be restricted; 21 people said they should not be.
"This is a bad time of year to try to get any response from business people," Smart said. "I think the fact that we got this kind of response indicates that it is an important issue to them. . . . I don't know how much effect it's going to have on anything."
Smart sent the survey results to the city, but the Chamber of Commerce will not make a recommendation regarding valet parking until after its Jan. 9 Board of Directors meeting, if at all, she said.
The City Council is awaiting a report from the city attorney before taking final action on the issue.