The City Council this week postponed taking action on a proposal to install 850 parking meters in downtown residential neighborhoods near the beach until they can discuss the plan with local residents.
A public forum is scheduled Oct. 13 at the Michael E. Rodgers Senior Center.
"Since this affects them the most, the people downtown should have something to say about it," City Councilman Dave Sullivan said.
Community Services Director Ron Hagan said the residential parking plan seeks to discourage beach visitors from parking for free in residential areas, forcing them to use beach parking lots and the parking structure on Main Street.
The meters are planned from Pacific Coast Highway inland one block to Walnut Avenue, from 5th Street to Golden West Street. Meter rates would be 75 cents an hour.
Residents could buy a parking permit for $5 a year per vehicle. They also can get 72-hour passes for visitors at no charge.
The city would let visitors use the meters only from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight to discourage overnight camping by recreational vehicles. Because the area is in a coastal zone, however, the six-hour parking prohibition will require approval from the California Coastal Commission because of coastal access requirements. Residents with stickers could park in front of their homes at all hours.
First-year costs for the program are estimated at $497,000 for the purchase and installation of the new meters and for a full-time and part-time employee in the city's parking meter division. Revenue from the 850 residential parking fees is projected at $300,000 a year.
Mayor Grace Winchell said Tuesday that residents seem to be divided about the parking meters. Some are endorsing the plan so they can have more use of their streets while others are opposed for reasons of aesthetics, claiming the meters would change the character of their neighborhoods, she said.
The parking plan also would prohibit beach visitors from parking in a residential area inland from Pacific Coast Highway, between Walnut and Orange avenues, from 5th to Golden West streets.