Encinitas council votes to rework parking permit system

The downtown Encinitas sign.
(Charlie Neuman / San Diego Union-Tribune/Zuma Pre)

Changes will add in two missed apartment structures and create expiration dates for guest permits


A controversial parking permit system for an Encinitas neighborhood is being reworked two months after it was launched.

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a 3-2 vote, with Councilmembers Bruce Ehlers and Joy Lyndes opposed, the City Council approved several changes to the system. They include:

  • Adding two apartment complexes — the Ritz Colony and The Cape — that city employees said were accidentally left out of the new permit zone when it was created;
  • Establishing expiration dates for guest parking permits;
  • Requiring that vehicle license numbers are printed on the permanent parking permits that residents receive, so that people can’t use the same permit for multiple vehicles.

“I apologize that we’re here again,” Mayor Tony Kranz said as he introduced the item, adding that he wanted to make the changes now to correct the situation with the two apartment complexes.
The council approved the new permit-only, overnight parking zone in April. Encinitas began issuing the permits in June and enforcement of the new system started July 1. At that point, the city discovered that a few residents from the two nearby apartment complexes had been parking for years on one of the streets within the zone, but hadn’t been informed of the changes and were now getting ticketed, city traffic engineer Abe Bandegan said.

The new zone, which did include one large apartment complex known as The Resort at Encinitas Luxury Apartments, covers five streets between Via Cantebria and El Camino Real: Via Molena, plus a region of single-family homes on four streets — Via Sarasan, Via Palacio and Via Villena and Via Tavira.

Residents of the single-family home area campaigned for two years to get the city to establish the permit system, saying their neighborhood was being inundated with late-night noise, trash and abandoned vehicles. They blamed the problems in part on The Resort apartment complex, saying there were unauthorized people living there and hiding that fact by parking on neighboring streets.

Under the new system, city-issued permits are required to park in the zone from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. This has reduced the problems they were experiencing, some single-family home residents told the council, but added that people are finding ways to get around the permit system by sharing passes and using “guest” passes for the same vehicle for weeks at a time.

Councilmembers Lyndes and Ehlers supported setting time limits on visitor permits and requiring license plate information on permanent permits, but said they couldn’t back the plans to add the two apartment complexes into the permit zone at this time. Mentioning that the council agreed when it approved the system to revisit the issue next year, Lyndes said she thought doing so now was a “little too speedy.”

But Councilmember Allison Blackwell, who voted with the council majority, said she thought the changes ought to be made now.

“I don’t view it as an expansion (of the the zone), I view it as a correction,” she said.