The Top of the World neighborhood is being inundated with visitors to enjoy the views and recreation opportunities at Alta Laguna Park and the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. Most visitors are respectful, but some commit crimes and cause problems including trash, graffiti, alcohol use, smoking, and even public urination.
Increased police and fire protection is called for, but unfortunately visitors provide little or no tax revenue to the City. I think we ought to explore having meterless paid parking spaces in the Alta Laguna Park parking lot, and along a stretch of Alta Laguna Boulevard, and, perhaps elsewhere. Here’s my thinking:
- The only tax day-trippers might pay is parking fees and fines.
- Most Laguna Beach residents have shopping permits and would be exempt.
- Some visitors might be deterred and go elsewhere.
- The Parking Fund revenue could be used to increase police resources and presence.
- With smoking, fire is a concern and parking fund revenue could be used to increase fire department resources
- The California Coastal Commission will not permit the City to designate any more neighborhood-only parking permits
The Parking Fund is discretionary allowing the City Council to spend for any purpose, and in the past this has included police and fire department positions, transit, open space, etc. Laguna Beach residents should demand that the Parking Fund be used to protect the quality of life of Laguna Beach residents and to mitigate problems caused by visitors.
Gene Felder, Laguna Beach