Police Crack Down on Parking Scofflaws Frustrates Hermosa Beach Residents - NBC Southern California
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Police Crack Down on Parking Scofflaws Frustrates Hermosa Beach Residents

In the past six months, a surprise parking enforcement crackdown in Hermosa Beach leaves some neighbors with no viable parking options

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hermosa Beach residents are angry over pricey parking tickets they say they don't deserve while police say they're responding to complaints about blocked sidewalks. Investigative Consumer Reporter Randy Mac reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014. (Published Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014)

    Some Hermosa Beach residents are frustrated with parking officials as pricey parking tickets pepper the windshields of cars in their own driveways, often in the middle of the night.

    Police say they are simply responding to complaints about blocked sidewalks.

    But in a busy beach town where parking is at a premium, the parking tickets have people wondering — where are they supposed to park, if not in their own driveways?

    Neighbors Samantha Mathews, Kellie Sams and Hal Blakeslee have been parking outside their Hermosa Beach condominium for years.

    "In our lease it says two parking spaces — one in the garage and one tandem behind our garage," Mathews said.

    In the seven years Sams has lived there, she'd never gotten a parking ticket, until recently.

    In the past six months, a surprise parking enforcement crackdown led the neighbors to regularly wake up and find $38 parking citations, for blocking the sidewalk.

    Mathews said she parks inches from her garage door but it doesn’t help.

    Whether it's across the street or across town, the problem is identical. Short driveways leave cars parked at their homes, extended onto sidewalks, in violation of the law.

    "Parking is the No. 1 complaint in our city and it’s a difficult problem," said Lt. Garth Gaines of the Hermosa Beach Police Department.

    For years, Hermosa Beach police have largely ignored issuing sidewalk citations, but that’s changing.

    Gaines said enforcement is based on complaints. People are being forced to walk in the streets because of blocked sidewalks, he said.

    Since November 2013, Hermosa Beach police have issued 390 such citations, up from 349 the year before.

    "They're demanding that we take action," Gaines said. "It is a state law we're trying to do a balance to help both out."

    In August, authorities issued warnings that they'd pursue more aggressive enforcement against parking scofflaws who obstruct sidewalks.

    For $44, the city will sell you a permit, granting permission to park on the street, blocking your own driveway.

    The permit only applies to single dwellings and if the width of your driveway covers the vehicle bumper to bumper.

    "For us: we live here, we pay our rent, we pay taxes, we support the city and this is kind of how we’re repaid," Sams said. "It’s just not fair."

    Mathews and her neighbors see no options for parking on their block and no end to the number of tickets they could face.

    "We do feel like we’re being exploited," she said.

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