The city claims we need beach parking on the El Camino Real lot to be funded, exclusively, using Beach Parking Impact Mitigation Funds, yet the lot has been vacant for over 20 years. Eleven city studies prove there is no beach parking shortage. The city gave away 150 beach parking spaces for Metrolink use, and 64 spaces were waived for Casino use only after the city proved to the Coastal Commission there was surplus parking, not a beach parking shortage as it now claims, even though North Beach parking is decreasing. These Coastal Commission agreements require the city to build 214 North Beach parking spaces before a beach parking shortage arises and BPIF Funds can be expended. The city’s ECR lot parking design was rejected because it requires excess asphalt to facilitate special events, not beach parking. The city’s application did not refer to a beach parking shortage.
A trial court ordered the city to refund the $10.5 million BPIF Fund (the funding source for the shuttled ECR lot) to over 6,000 San Clemente homeowners. There is no beach parking shortage to mitigate. Does anyone believe that if a beach parking shortage exists, BPIF funds would remain unspent for 25 years? Even so, the city is spending our money to appeal this common-sense court decision.
Council will explore better ways to spend BPIF funds and is frustrated by the coastal Commission’s rebuke. Neither is necessary. Council should comply with the court’s order. Council can make the refund and still use over $1 million of available unrestricted North Beach funds for parking or revitalization.