ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council unanimously approved moving forward with establishing a residential parking permit zone in the Via Molena area after months of residents’ complaints of overcrowding and safety hazards on neighborhood streets.
The program is anticipated to roll out in May, with enforcement potentially in full effect by June.
After the change of management at The Resort at Encinitas Luxury Apartments, residents of the complex started parking along the streets of Via Molena, Via Tavira, Via Sarasan, Via Palacio, and Via Villena, causing extreme issues with the residents in those neighborhoods.
Parking issues were exacerbated when The Resort started charging a $25 parking fee per spot in the complex, according to some residents. Since the apartment complex reportedly has an over-occupancy issue, residents and tenants were left to find free street parking to avoid paying an additional parking fee.
In August 2021, the Mobility and Traffic Safety Commission asked staff to evaluate the need and feasibility of a permit parking zone in a residential neighborhood north of Via Molena.
Three months later, in November 2021, staff provided a permit parking zone evaluation and study to the city’s traffic commission, concluding the request for a permit parking zone did not meet municipal code requirements. However, the Mobility and Traffic Safety Commission recommended approval of the permit parking zone and requested the item be brought to the council.
In the initial public hearing meeting about the permit parking in February, residents brought forward information to support their requested permit parking zone, proposing to extend the zone to include residents of The Resort.
The City Council determined the revised request met the municipal code requirements and directed staff to bring a resolution establishing a permit parking zone for the area that included residents of The Resort at Encinitas Luxury Apartments.
At the next public hearing on March 22, 2023, the City Council reviewed the resolution to establish a permit parking zone in the area. However, the adoption was continued to Wednesday night’s meeting to provide time for a Spanish version of the notification.
Established during the March meeting, conditions and restrictions were created for the permit parking zones, including no stopping, standing, or parking permitted during the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. except with a permit on the streets.
Each resident living on Via Tavira, Via Sarasan, Via Palacio, Via Villena, Via Terrassa, Via Solaro, and Via Morella will receive one “Resident” permit for each vehicle owned or leased by the resident, as shown on the vehicle’s registration or insurance documentation, for a fee of $5 each. Residents will also have the opportunity of purchasing three “visitor” permits.
Residents of the neighborhood spoke at the hearing, with the majority speaking in favor of this permit program.
Bonnie Bobzien has been at all the meetings hoping for change.
“The overflow was accompanied by numerous behaviors by the vehicle occupants that changed the character of our neighborhood, which compromised public safety, public health, and quality of life,” Bobzien said. “We have continued to experience numerous problems, including the following: vandalism, relentless trash comprised of beer bottles, beer cans, food containers, drug paraphernalia, defecation, and urination on our green belts, used condoms and wipes tossed into our streets, vomit on the street, loud music and conversation at late hours, verbal harassment of young women…
“Public streets are being abused. These streets are being used in a manner that negatively impacts citizens’ public safety and health. We need permit parking so we can make this area a better place to live for all.”
Another resident, Wendy Schelew, shared the same regard for overcrowding and a strong need for the permit parking to take effect.
“We know more about this than we care to, and it shouldn’t have taken two years. Trust me, and we have tried to resolve this on our own,” Schelew said.
“Bonnie and I met with the resort on at least six occasions until such time the manager said, ‘I don’t want to see you anymore. We are not discussing this anymore.’ We’ve talked to the sheriff, the housing department, and on and on. This should never have taken two years. We have been living in misery for two years.”