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Parks Commission Rejects Plan to Charge for Parking at County Beaches

Board of Supervisors, which has the final say on whether to impose fees, is scheduled to discuss the issue in October

A proposal to charge parking fees at Santa Barbara County beach parks was rejected Thursday by the county Parks Commission, but the final decision lies in the hands of the Board of Supervisors.

Fees could bring in $1.58 million to $2.48 million annually if implemented, county staff members have said.

The Parks Commission, meeting in Santa Maria, was considering flat fees or hourly rates at Rincon Beach, Loon Point, Lookout Park, Arroyo Burro Beach, Goleta Beach, Ocean Beach and Guadalupe Dunes Park.

There’s been public outcry over the idea to charge for beach parking access, which ultimately convinced the Parks Commission members to unanimously vote against it.

Thursday’s meeting, the third public hearing on the item this summer, was sparsely attended, although a handful of people watched it remotely from the Planning Commission Hearing Room in Santa Barbara.

Opponents have argued that charging for parking would reduce beach access for low-income families and have a negative impact on restaurants at county beaches, such as the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach and the Beachside Bar Café at Goleta Beach.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the issue in October and will get a overview of what was presented to the Parks Commission, Community Services director Herman Parker said. Supervisors will also be made aware that the Parks Commission recommended against it.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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