For those who’ve taken to social media to address that car on their street taking a “prime” spot that hasn’t moved in at least a week, or the camper on their cul-de-sac that’s been there a bit too long after a vacation — don’t worry, someone called the city of Santa Clarita.
Specifically, in the case of vehicles being parked in one spot for more than 72 hours, the city got 4,711 calls, just last year alone, which represented a 30% increase over 2021.
In response to the rising number of complaints, the city, which contracts with a private company for its around-the-clock, 365-day-a-year parking enforcement, is planning to change its rules of the road when it comes to parking.
“Staff is finding that vehicle owners, after receiving a warning notice for the 72-hour restriction, will oftentimes move their vehicles a few inches forward or backward to remain in compliance,” according to the council’s agenda for its Tuesday meeting. “In effect, the vehicle continues to be stored on the public right-of-way, in the same place, prohibiting the use of the roadway for other vehicle owners.” Further, with no distance required for the movement, nonoperational vehicles can be pushed the same distance, but essentially remain in place.
No longer, if the new rules are adopted, according to the agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The new rule being recommended by staff requires a vehicle owner to move their vehicle at least 150 feet from the previous spot in order to avoid a ticket.
The distance was seen as a compromise by staff with vehicle owners, as the benchmark distance from its studies of other cities was 300 feet, the length of a city block, according to a city staff report. But the 150 feet is being proposed so as not to create “an undue burden.”
The city is also revising its rules for any oversized vehicles, which the city essentially defines as any motor vehicle, recreational or otherwise, that meets or exceeds at least two of the following three metrics: 23 feet in length, 8 feet tall or 7 feet in width — the criteria established by the city’s 2001 ordinance.
The city is also looking to broaden the rules regarding how long an oversized vehicle may be parked in a public street, or public place within any residential, commercial, industrial or business park zone (emphasis theirs).
The city notes that it responded to 783 complaints about oversized vehicles in 2022, a little over two calls per day.
Now, such a vehicle can’t be parked in the public for more than 48 hours for reasons such as maintenance or unloading, unless the owner of the vehicle has a permit, which allows for up to 72 hours of parking. The city also notes in its agenda that, if the rule changes are approved, the 48-hour regulation would apply, even if the 48-hour period includes a holiday or a weekend.
Under the current rules, a scofflaw faces a $78 citation for a vehicle in violation of the 72-hour rule, and a violation of OSV parking is subject to a $68 citation.
“These changes will allow Parking Enforcement to more effectively address (oversized vehicle) violations, while still providing OSV owners an appropriate amount of time to park their vehicles on a public right-of-way for the purposes and intent of Santa Clarita Municipal Codes,” the agenda states.
The OSV regulations don’t apply to vehicles with valid Department of Motor Vehicles-issued disabled person license plates, according to the agenda.
The rules would take effect May 25, if the rules pass a first reading at Tuesday’s meeting and then a second reading two weeks later.