LONG BEACH — Neighborhoods beset by parking hassles soon will have "a toolbox" of options they can request from the city to give them curbside relief.
The eight options, approved in concept by the City Council on Tuesday, range from preferential parking for residents to requirements that garages be used for cars instead of storage.
Pending final council approval, it will be up to individuals or associations to petition their neighbors and reach a consensus on which programs would work best in their particular areas. Once they agree on one or more of the programs, the residents can ask the council to activate the selected programs.
"This is a toolbox," said Robert J. Paternoster, planning and building director. "Now it goes back to the community and they have to decide what they want."
The options include a $30 annual permit exempting residents from parking restrictions within their areas, overnight preferential street parking and permits for overnight use of public or private non-residential parking lots. Other options include converting parallel parking to diagonal parking, constructing city lots or garages in residential areas and charging the costs to those who use the spaces, issuing permits allowing residents to block their own driveways and citing residents who do not use their garages for cars.
To ensure that garages are not used exclusively for storage or other purposes, the options also call for a city inspection when a home is put up for sale to see whether a garage has been illegally converted to another use. If inspectors find that a garage had been converted into an extra bedroom, the seller and buyer would be notified and told to correct the violation.
But a petition in itself does not guarantee approval of any request, City Atty. John Calhoun cautioned. Each program, he said, must meet specific criteria before it is approved.
For example, before the council would approve a new program allowing overnight parking only for residents who have purchased special stickers, the neighborhood would have to show that 75% of its on-street spaces are full overnight.
While approving the overall program, the council did not agree on individual options. For instance, Councilman Ray Grabinski said "preferential parking is no panacea."
One preferential parking program has been in place since last year and has proved popular in some areas. It has already been proposed in Belmont Shore but has run into residents' opposition. On Tuesday, the council approved issuing parking permits for two areas, East Roosevelt Road between Long Beach Boulevard and Linden Avenue, and Linden Avenue between Bixby Road and Roosevelt Road.