The Santa Barbara City Council wrestled with the competing parking needs of apartment dwellers and condo owners living across from each other on Modoc Road on 10/16. At the end of the day, it wasn’t clear who prevailed. Owners of the new condos asked for residential parking permits so that apartment owners across the street couldn’t poach the condo owners’ parking spaces. Given the silence of apartment-complex residents-largely poorer, Spanish-speaking people-most councilmembers were loathe to approve any permanent residential permit solution. Instead, the council passed a 12-month program that will effectively deny the apartment dwellers access to the public streets that run throughout the condo complex.
Meanwhile, the city’s Transportation and Circulation Committee will be assigned the task of exploring other options. Included in these are striping Modoc Road to create new parking spaces-thus encroaching into a popular bike lane; communicating with apartment owners for better management of their properties; and enforcing existing parking laws. Most councilmembers agreed that the real problem was the density of the apartment complexes and the automotive needs of the tenants. However, state law prohibits local jurisdictions from regulating the number of people who can dwell in residences.