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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 8:40 pm | Fair 54º


Lompoc Council Slows Down Plan to Limit Overnight Parking on 2 Streets

Police Chief Pat Walsh has proposed banning parking between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Aviation Drive and Cordoba Avenue

Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh. Click to view larger
Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh proposed banning parking between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Aviation Drive and Cordoba Avenue, two streets that have been popular for those living in recreational vehicles. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A divided Lompoc City Council put the brakes on a proposal to ban overnight parking on two streets popular with campers, but plans to revisit the idea.

Police Chief Pat Walsh proposed banning parking between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Aviation Drive and Cordoba Avenue, two streets that have been popular for those living in recreational vehicles. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Walsh said, he saw 10 such vehicles parked in the area, but told council members the number had been as high as 32.

The camping has led to the dumping of raw sewage and crimes in the area, he added. Since January 2016, there have been 195 police contacts in the area.

“This is quite the problem,” he said. “We thought we fixed it with safe parking, but we have not as a city been able to implement that yet.” 

A “safe parking program” establishes an area recreational vehicles can park overnight but requires participants to follow rules.

Councilman Jim Mosby questioned the impact that a parking ban would have for the Chumash Casino bus riders, many of whom are employees. On some nights, parking spills over into the street by 30 to 40 cars due to the full lot. 

“I think it would be a catastrophe for the people who are trying to get to work if they are in an overflow position,” Mosby added. 

City Manager Jim Throop said permits could be issued for those needing to park legally in the area.

Mosby also asked what would stop campers from moving to another street in the city, and Walsh said he expected that would happen.. 

“There’s a couple places in town that have the same problem,” Walsh said. "This is very concentrated problem."

Councilman Victor Vega said he views the proposed parking ban as a short-term solution to appease some people.

“I think it’s just going to go to some place else,” he said, calling for the council to revisit the safe parking program.

Throop said staff departures have stalled efforts to develop a safe parking program.

“We just haven’t had the ability to get back to that, and then the other piece is the funding, too,” he said estimating the program could cost $130,000 annually to provide security and an outreach coordinator at the safe parking site.

One proposed site is the lot at the Lompoc Civic Center.

At least one councilman opposes using a city lot for the safe parking.

“To put it all here on city parking lots or to allow it to disperse to another area in the city is not really helping anything,” Vega said. 

Mosby, Vega and Councilman Dirk Starbuck voted to delay the item, while Mayor Bob Lingl and Councilwoman Jenelle Osborne opposed the motion to postpone action.

“It’s a very small solution for a very small area of the town, but you’re just imposing burdens on other areas of the town,” Mosby said. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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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