Oceanside may double beach parking prices

Posted at 6:18 AM, Apr 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 09:18:25-04

It's expensive to take your family out in San Diego, but the beach is always free.

Except- if you take the car.

And on Wednesday, the Oceanside City Council could vote to hike parking prices - just in time for summer.

Weston Cerny, who went to Oceanside’s beach to learn to surf, says finding a bargain parking space was the biggest challenge.

“We kind of came down and were looking for some cheaper parking,” he said. “It was worth circling around a little bit.”

Cerny found a meter spot charging $1 hour - a price the city is proposing to hike 50 cents this summer.

But that'll still be a steal compared to the ten or so beachfront lots the city manages.

It wants to increase those prices this summer from $2 an hour to $5, and from $8 a day to $15.

“I’ve got little ones,” Cerny said. “You’re pushin’ the price up on me.”

The city says it needs the extra money because its costs to manage the lots keep rising. It's already lost some of them to downtown development - and this one is the next to go. The increased fees could raise an extra $900,000 a year.

But it may take more than a City Council vote to hike the price - because the Coastal Commission may step in.

Eric Stevens, a coastal program analyst, said the state agency said it was unaware of the proposal until 10News brought it to their attention.

He said 1993 agency memo says any beach parking above 25 percent may need their approval, since it can discourage public access to the beach.

Stevens said city and the commission met Tuesday, with the commission saying the city needs to issue a Coastal Development Permit for the change, parts of which can be appealed to the commission.