Revisions to St. Augustine’s residential-parking program, which would be divided by zones, are almost ready for a vote.
Under current rules, someone with a residential parking permit can park in any residential-only space — the neighborhood that person lives in doesn’t matter.
Under the new system, proposed by Mobility Program Manager Reuben Franklin Jr., people will only be able to park in the residential zone designated on their parking passes during restricted times.
“This is a request that’s about five years old to look into a zonal system,” said Franklin, who said he wants to bring the first reading of the new ordinance to the City Commission in January.
The new ordinance would replace one that’s been in effect since 2005.
Several residents came to a Wednesday night workshop on the topic at City Hall, some later expressing concerns about nonresidents parking on their streets.
The hunt for free parking leads some people, including downtown workers and students, to park on residential streets. That can sometimes cause issues for residents.
“There’s no place for your guest to park,” said Cecile Browning Nusbaum, a St. Augustine resident.
She added some residents don’t have parking at their homes, so they rely on street parking.
There are three residential parking areas in the city with 60 spaces, including on Saragossa and Water streets, and on Avenida Menendez, according to Franklin’s presentation.
The new ordinance says to get a residential-only zone in place, at least 60 percent of property owners on each block have to agree to the plan via a petition to the city.
Then the city would study the area at certain times over a week to see if it qualifies for the program based on how many parking spaces are occupied and how many of those parked cars come from outside of the area.
The city will rely on petitioners to tell them what times are an issue for finding parking, Franklin said. The city doesn’t plan to restrict spaces for 24-hour periods, though.
He said the city will pre-qualify some streets for the new program where they know issues exist. For those streets, residents would only have to gather enough signatures on a petition, Franklin said.
The cost of a permit under the ordinance would be $30 per year for both residential and guest passes. Temporary passes for up to two weeks would be $10.
The city plans to upgrade its technology to be able to recognize license plates instead of providing physical tags people hang in their cars, Franklin said.
That won’t happen right away, though.
The cost of a ticket is $35 for parking in a residential-only spot without a permit, according to Franklin’s presentation.
Also, as is currently the case, people won’t be able to reserve a certain spot, said Tara Bennie, city parking coordinator.
“Folks think whatever is in front of their house is theirs — it’s first come, first served,” Bennie said.
People who want residential-only parking complain that downtown workers are using residential spaces. Complaints generally don’t focus on tourists.
She said city officials have discussed finding a place for employee-only parking, but no proposals are on the table.
“I definitely think it’s something that the city’s going to continue to look at further,” Bennie said.