For the past year, the Riviera Association has attempted to work with El Encanto Hotel and the City Planning department to resolve the ongoing neighborhood parking problems near the hotel. Since El Encanto opened in March 2013, the surrounding streets of Mission Ridge, San Carlos, Lasuen, Moreno, and especially Alameda Padre Serra at Orpet Park have been overrun with El Encanto employee cars.
The 2004 Master Plan Conditions of Approval for El Encanto stated that “all employees shall be required to park their vehicles on-site.” Many cautionary flags were raised in 2009 by the Riviera Association, Riviera residents, the Citizens Planning Association of S.B., and others, but the ever-expanding project proceeded with additional cottages, a new ballroom, expanded dining facilities, and a spa. The increased scale and quality of service provided by the hotel resulted in more than doubling the number of employees, from 90 in 2006 when the hotel closed, to approximately 200 today with inadequate provisions for additional parking.
As a result, hotel employees have taken over the neighborhood streets every day for the past year. While some improvement has been noted as the El Encanto took steps to mitigate the situation with the addition of off-site parking, bus passes, and on-site parking for carpoolers and management (not all employees), self-regulation by El Encanto’s General Manager has proven ineffective and enforcement of the Conditions of Approval nonexistent.
For example, midnight parking on Alameda Padre Serra from Moreno to Lasuen averages about 10 vehicles, but starting at7 a.m. the number of vehicles begins building until reaching capacity of 40 usually by 11 a.m. Employees are observed leaving their cars and heading up to the hotel, wearing a new path through Orpet Park. Similar situations occur on Mission Ridge and other neighborhood streets. This phenomenon has been noted and documented by the Riviera Association and neighborhood residents on a daily basis and periodically conveyed to both the hotel and city. Inexplicably, the hotel security staff does not recognize this nor has the city attempted to verify it with its own staff.
It is long past time for the city to begin immediate and effective enforcement of El Encanto Hotel Conditions of Approval.