The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday rejected the idea of charging theaters, museums and nonprofit business offices within the Parking and Business Improvement Area, although other businesses pay into a fund for the 75-minute free parking program and operation of the parking structures and lots.
The Downtown Parking Committee recommended that the city reassess all businesses within the Parking and Business Improvement Area that aren’t currently paying into the fund.
Theaters would perhaps pay a fee for half of their seats per show, which would be “a nominal amount of money” that could be passed on to customers, the committee said.
The City Council was skeptical, however, especially since the city often gives grant funding to these entities.
“I have a lot of reservations about even starting that conversation,” Mayor Helene Schneider said.
The council voted to adopt the PBIA annual report — which doesn’t propose any changes to the boundaries or fees — but not start assessments for theaters, museums or nonprofit business offices that don’t already pay into the fund.
Council members also authorized a vote-by-mail election for Nov. 5, which will include the mayor’s seat and three council seats on the ballot.
The city is also asking voters to approve an ordinance that would swap land between the city’s property at MacKenzie Park and the U.S. government’s property at the adjacent Fremont Army Reserve Center. It’s a leftover issue from 1964, and no money would be exchanged, Schneider said.
City Attorney Steve Wiley said the agreement involves trading roughly 14,000 square feet of city land for 12,000 square feet of federal land.