Archive » August 23, 2012
New parking limits for residents
By Jeremy Foster, Staff Writer
Starting in October, drivers who leave their cars parked for more than 72 hours on streets in the unincorporated Santa Barbara County could get a ticket.
The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a change to the county’s parking enforcement code to reduce the time a vehicle can park on the street by two days. That means people who are accustomed to parking in the unincorporated area of the county for the current allowed time of five days could be slapped with a $67.50 ticket for parking the same length of time come fall.
The change brings the parking limit in line with the counties of San Luis Obispo, Kern, Ventura and Los Angeles, as well as all cities within the county.
Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf said the issue of people parking well past the legal parking time limit is a problem in her district.
“I don’t believe this is the answer to some of the issues of people playing parking roulette,” she said, “but I believe this is a huge step in a direction to alleviate the problem that my constituents are facing of people just leaving their cars on the road.”
Wolf said because the unincorporated areas allow people to park for longer times than cities allow, many people who would otherwise park in the cities may be crowding into the unincorporated areas to avoid moving their vehicles every 72 hours.
“I don’t have proof of that, but this has been an increasing issue in the unincorporated area of the second district,” she added. “I continue to get complaints from constituents, and my office is in contact with California Highway Patrol. This ordinance is long overdue.”
Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr also said her office gets complaints from constituents that are forwarded to the CHP.
When the CHP receives a complaint of a parking violation, an officer tags the vehicle, starting the 72-hour clock. If the vehicle is still there after the allotted time, it is ticketed; after another 72, it may be towed at the owner’s expense, according to Eric Pearson, interim deputy director for the Public Works Department.
The new parking limit was driven by complaints from several constituents, who raised concerns about vehicles parking for long periods on county streets without any requirement to move. “This leads to the perception of vehicles being abandoned and the inconvenience of public parking being monopolized by vehicles that seldom move,” the county staff report states.
In addition, law enforcement has noted there is confusion about the parking limits, particularly in areas where the boundary between the unincorporated county and a city is not clear.
The state limit for street parking is 72 hours unless otherwise stated in a local ordinance. The current ordinance allowing five-day parking was approved by supervisors in 1965.
In other county news, a recent undercover operation revealed an ongoing problem with shops selling tobacco and tobacco products to underage consumers.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department worked with law enforcement and youth-serving agencies to conduct its annual assessment of tobacco sales to minors. Of 341 retailers surveyed in the county, 12 percent (or 42 of 341) sold cigarettes to an underage decoy, more than double the statewide average of 5.4 percent.
As in past surveys, a wide variation in sales rates was seen throughout the county. Goleta had the highest rate of illegal sales with 39% selling to decoys. Solvang and Buellton’s rates rose significantly compared to having no underage sales in 2011: Solvang was 29 percent, or two out of seven stores; Buellton 17 percent, or two out of 12 stores. Compared to the last five years, the cities of Carpinteria, Goleta, and Guadalupe had their highest rates of illegal sales. Lompoc showed a significant drop with only 3 percent of retailers selling to minors, compared to 31 percent last year. The unincorporated area of the county showed improvement with 13 percent (8 of 63) of sales this year compared with 18 percent (11 of 62) last year. email@example.com