Encinitas approves overnight parking permits for Via Molena neighborhood

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(Karen Billing)

New signage banning non-resident parking could go up next month


It took three public hearings in two months, but the residents of the city’s Via Molena region won approval Wednesday, April 12, from the City Council for an overnight parking permit system.

“I think this is a great step,” Mayor Tony Kranz said just before the council’s unanimous vote, adding that he looked forward to hearing a report from city staff a year from now about the program’s success.

People who live in the newly created permit zone should be able to start applying online or in person for their $5 city parking permits May 1; the new street signage may go up later in that month; and the program’s official kickoff could be June 1, city Traffic Engineer Abe Bandegan said.

The only “bottleneck” will be how quickly the city can obtain the special permit parking signs, which will need to be custom-made, he said.

The new zone where overnight parking will be allowed by permit-only will include Via Molena from 200 feet east of Via Tavira to Via Cantebria, as well as the streets of Via Tavira, Via Sarasan, Via Palacio and Via Villena. The hours of enforcement will be 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Each resident who has a vehicle will receive their own parking permit and each household also will receive three guest parking permits. In order to obtain the permits, people will need to supply the city with documentation of their home address and vehicles.

This will be the city’s third neighborhood that has established a permit system for overnight parking, and it’s been some two years in the making. Residents within the new zone told the council April 12 that they ultimately decided to ask for permit parking after trying numerous other ways to curb problems with late-night noise, trash and abandoned vehicles on their streets.

These problems started, they have said, after The Resort at Encinitas Luxury Apartments — a large complex to the south of Via Molena — changed ownership. The new owners began enforcing apartment occupancy limits and onsite parking restrictions. Instead of moving out, neighbors contend, some unauthorized apartment dwellers began hiding their residency by parking on the nearby streets. They were joined by other people, and now the region has become a sort of unofficial campout spot where street parties take place and people leave everything from trash bags to unwanted vehicles, the residents have said.

Initially, their proposal was to establish permit parking only on their four-street area, but that was later expanded to include Via Molena and the apartment complex.

The item has been the subject of three council meetings in recent weeks. In early March, the council gave its initial approval to the overnight permit system, but the city attorney later determined that it needed to have a publicly noticed, formal hearing.

That hearing was scheduled for the council’s March 22 meeting, but the council continued the item to the April 12 meeting after realizing that there were Spanish-speaking people in the audience who needed a translator in order to participate.

A translator was provided at the April 12 meeting, but no one used the service to provide public testimony to the council.

A dozen people did speak on the issue and all backed the proposal. Nearly all of them lived on the streets north of the apartment complex, but one apartment complex resident said he too thought the permit system might help as long as people didn’t figure out a way around the limitations.