Parking meters, permits proposed in Pacific Beach

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SAN DIEGO -- Parking is a hot commodity at any beach in San Diego, but it could soon come at a cost in Pacific Beach.

It’s of the last coastal communities not to have paid parking, but a group called Discover Pacific Beach is lobbying for metered parking in the area, along with residents paying for annual permits.

Sara Berns, executive director of Discover Pacific Beach, the community’s business improvement organization, says the inconvenience does not outweigh the benefits.

"I hate digging out quarters too, but I think it’s a proven mechanism for managing parking and traffic…and really the revenue and what it can benefit the community,” Berns said.

She says Discover Pacific Beach will continue to talk to community members to find a plan with which everyone can agree.

"Forty-five percent of parking revenue comes back into that community," Berns said. "So we can use that money for public transportation, cleaning up the streets, fixing the sidewalks, crosswalks...infrastructure. So really, the benefit of the revenue for the community is greater, I think, than the burden."

FOX 5 spoke to several residents and business owners who don’t like the idea and think it’s a move to push the middle class out.

John Cocozza has lived in Pacific Beach for 17 years. He has printed fliers and walked the streets talking to people and businesses about a plan to make residents pay for annual parking permits and put metered parking throughout the beach community. He’s even thinking about creating a petition.

“What’s good for the community is people coming to our town and spending money. And parking meters won’t help,” Cocozza said.

A public meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. to discuss the parking issue at the Pacific Beach Recreation Center, located at 1405 Diamond Street.

Discover Pacific Beach hopes to come up with a parking plan by the end of the year.