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Local News

Goleta Gets Rolling on Rules Limiting Parking of Oversized Vehicles

The City Council sends a proposal back to the Ordinance Committee for further review

In an effort to keep the public streets in Goleta from becoming storage for RVs, boats and other oversize vehicles, the Goleta City Council on Tuesday considered an ordinance that would effectively ban such parking.

However, because of the impact it would cause to the owners of boats, RVs and trailers, the ordinance was sent to the Ordinance Committee for adjustments before it goes back to the council.

Tuesday night’s efforts got the ball rolling on a rule that could require owners to park their vehicles in their driveways or backyards, or find alternative suitable storage for their oversize vehicles. As written, though, the ordinance would allow for extended parking for vehicles that were being loaded and unloaded, getting emergency repairs and for commercial vehicles making deliveries.

Generally speaking, the ordinance affects vehicles that are more than 25 feet in length or 82 inches tall. Permits for $20 also could be issued for owners to park adjacent to their homes or at their place of business, or for visitors who would be using their RVs.

The ordinance was hailed by some on the council as one “whose time has come.” Currently, the city’s rule that governs long-term parking of recreational vehicles requires only that the vehicle be moved every 72 hours, resulting in a musical chairs of oversized vehicles in local neighborhoods. Another problem that stands to be solved as a result of the proposed ordinance would be street sweeping.The vehicles sometimes block the street sweeper. The environmental issue of runoff may be dealt with as well.

However, the current version of the ordinance rubbed some audience members the wrong way.

“Well, as you know, boys like our toys, and this messes with our toys,” said boat owner Bill Masters, who nevertheless offered suggestions for how to implement the new rule, including providing online registration for monitoring and enforcement purposes. The new rule needed to be applied “with a surgical approach,” he said, with possible alternatives for parking.

Others who spoke offered other ideas, including the purchase of a permit, or a sticker, and extending the time visitors are allowed to park.

The proposed ordinance, as much as its outcome was favored by the council, also presented some logistical problems: Alternative parking is scarce in the city of Goleta, whose residents have been used to parking on the street, and if the permit system was used, where would those parking spaces go?

“There isn’t a residential neighborhood in town that’s going to be happy to see the city renting a residential space out in front of their house,” Councilman Ed Easton said, “nor is there a store owner happy to see a boat parked in front of the store.”

From a transit industry businessman’s standpoint, Mayor Eric Onnen, who owns and operates Santa Barbara Airbus, said the rule should not affect public transit buses, commuter buses or tour buses, as they have to park for extended periods of time.

“Mandating an outcome without a solution is going to create a lot of hardships in the short run,” he said.

So, with direction to consider issues such as enforcement, registration, extended visiting hours, alternate storage sites, and how to deal with commercial buses, the ordinance was sent back for further review. It’s expected to be back before the council in the near future.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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