First, let’s review the problem. In the City of Fullerton, by default, parking is banned on most streets between 2:00 am and 5:00 am. To be exempt, a majority of the homeowners on a street must go through a costly petitioning process. The only other option is to apply for a “hardship exemption,” which is an expensive overnight parking permit. However, those are only available if you own a single-family home. Discrimination against renters is thus built into the Fullerton Municipal Code. It is not only unfair, but it is also contrary to state law, according to Opinion 14-304 rendered by then-California Attorney General (now US Senator) Kamala Harris.
Almost a year ago, I pointed out this legal problem to the Fullerton City Council and City Attorney. Soon after that, as shown in this City document, they recognized this legal issue, and quite appropriately, asked their staff to study the problem. The recommendations were presented at the City Council meeting last Tuesday, and you can view it here. (The segment on overnight parking is Item #3, starting about 3 hours and 26 minutes into the meeting.) I encourage you to watch it, and here are a few things I noticed:
- One of those recommendations was to implement a need-based permit system, presumably one that does not discriminate on the type of home and whether it is rented or owner-occupied. Unfortunately, when asked about the cost of such a system, the staff member simply had no idea, and implied it would be exorbitant because the City would have to investigate before issuing every single one of the thousands of permits issued! I don’t understand why Fullerton doesn’t learn from other cities. In La Habra, overnight parking permits are $33 a year. In Brea, a city which is as pleasant (if not more so) than Fullerton, they are $18 a year if purchased online.
- Three members of the audience gave comments on the recommendation. The first erroneously stated that these are things are “already on the books.” The second remarked that the recommendations are confusing and complicated, as if the current system is not.
- The City Council members themselves were sidetracked into a discussion on parking around the college campuses in Fullerton. This issue and the overnight parking issue are as different as night and day.
- At the end, the City Council decided to do nothing right now. The conflict with state law was never even mentioned.
It’s pretty sad. The Fullerton City Council missed the point on overnight parking.