A string of changes approved to South Lake Tahoe’s paid parking program includes smaller fines, reduced hours, one less location and the creation of an annual pass for local residents.
The paid parking program will appear on the June 3 ballot for city voters to uphold or repeal.
But at a long-scheduled meeting to review the program Tuesday, City Council considered various changes in an effort to make it “less onerous and more palatable to residents and visitors,” Mayor Hal Cole said.
City Council voted 5-0 to reduce fines for paid parking kiosk violations from $55 to $35. The change does not apply to the parking garage and fines for other parking infractions such as parking across sidewalks or crosswalks or in loading zones remain $55.
Council members also unanimously agreed to end paid parking on Venice Drive.
Annual parking passes for local residents will be offered for $40 and be valid in paid parking kiosk areas Monday through Friday.
The passes will be available for sale to permanent South Shore residents as early as next week. That includes people living full-time in zip codes 96150 through 96158 in California and 89448 and 89449 in Nevada.
Councilwoman JoAnn Conner wanted to see discounted passes offered to local seniors. Also supported by councilman Tom Davis, the motion was voted down by Hal Cole, Angela Swanson and Brooke Laine.
Another change approved Tuesday reduces paid parking hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hours previously extended to 10 p.m.
Conner voted against that action. She wanted hours further reduced to 6 p.m. at Lakeview Commons so families who cannot afford to buy an annual pass have more time to get to the beach.
The city will hold off on plans to restripe parking stalls and improve signs and lighting in paid parking areas as well as plans to realign the road and pave a dirt parking area at Lakeside Beach until voters determine the fate of the paid parking program.
June’s ballot measure would repeal paid parking at Lakeview Commons and Lakeside Beach and on Paradise Avenue, effective Aug. 31.
Paid parking would remain in place on Bellamy Court and Transit Way, locations budgeted to generate $85,000 in revenue this fiscal year.
City officials estimated Tuesday that repealing the entire paid parking program today including Bellamy Court and Transit Way would have a $620,000 impact on city budgets.
That includes lost kiosk transaction and citation revenue as well as the $191,000 still owed for parking kiosks the city bought. If the paid parking program is repealed by voters, the city could try to sell its kiosks.
The city expanded paid parking in 2012 and 2013 as a way to generate revenue to pay for the maintenance and operation of facilities such as Lakeview Commons and potentially raise money for infrastructure needs.
A dozen or so people attended Tuesday’s meeting. Some of them spoke in favor of repealing the paid parking program and against any other changes. Others spoke in favor of the program as a way to raise needed revenues and encouraged city officials to try to “fix it and not nix it.”
At a special meeting 1 p.m. Feb. 27, City Council will craft its arguments for the June ballot measure.
The city posted a video of Tuesday’s meeting online: http://youtu.be/JRM9rdxn5XE