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Goleta Council Supports Expanding Halloween-Inspired Parking-Permit Program

Parking restrictions the City of Goleta used to deter attendance at Halloween festivities in nearby Isla Vista last year may be expanded for use during similar events, such as April’s Deltopia street party.

The Goleta City Council on Tuesday directed staff to pursue plans to enact parking restrictions in neighborhoods around Isla Vista for certain events through a resident-only permit-parking program.

The temporary program, which officials deemed a success for Halloween in 2014, involved Goleta mailing permits to residents, who had to post them in the windows of cars parked on the streets in the restricted area.

Officials agreed that the program seemed to deter young visitors from parking on residential streets, but Councilman Michael Bennett cautioned staff that it might be difficult to come up with a Deltopia-specific parking plan.

Because the all-day, alcohol-fueled event can pop up on Del Playa unannounced — typically on a weekend in early April — Bennett worried that issuing parking permits weeks in advance wouldn’t work. This year's unsponsored event is set for the first weekend in April.

“Planning ahead would be difficult because the date could change,” said Bennett, who also recommended increasing the cost of parking tickets and the number of vehicles towed.

Vyto Adomaitis, director of neighborhood services and public safety, briefly reviewed the impact of last year’s restrictions before offering the plan up for discussion.

He said Santa Barbara county sheriff’s deputies and city staff who patrolled the area during Halloween saw significant decreases in the number of vehicles parked on streets in the restricted area, which included parcels south of Hollister Avenue between Cannon Green and Storke Road.

A mere 12 vehicles were either cited for not displaying permits or towed — an impressive figure that may have been aided by rain deterring visitors.

The cost of increased law enforcement for Halloween came in below budget and lower than in 2013, Adomaitis said, with the city paying $10,212 instead of $12,500.

He said implementing the parking program — printing, mailing, postage, posting of no parking sings, etc. — cost Goleta approximately $14,400.

Even more encouraging was a city-conducted online survey, in which 85 percent of responding residents within the restricted parking zone (76 total) said they would support a similar parking program for future events.

A future program would fix glitches in last year’s efforts, including a database issue forcing staff to hand-deliver permits to individual units at certain addresses.

Adomaitis said staff also had to mail a second permit to homes because only one went out initially, and he said the city would work closely with AYSO soccer participants, who could be affected when parking on weekends along Pacific Oaks Road near Girsh Park.

Making future restrictions more time-specific — effective 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., for example — was also discussed.

Council members lauded the program, but said they worried rain could’ve been the determining factor on last year's Halloween.

They ultimately decided that whether to expand the program to more neighborhoods should be up to law enforcement.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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