Letter: No Presbyterian Parking Deal Until City-wide Plan is Approved


With the City Council primed and gung-ho-ready to rush into approving the Presbyterian parking structure deal, shouldn’t the public have a full say in this purported $55.6 million project?

If the City Council is inviting residents to offer input for the City’s overall parking plan, why aren’t residents being given the same opportunity to openly and publicly review this highly expensive, city-impacting, 53-year land lease deal?

In fact, shouldn’t the public demand a complete city-wide parking plan before this deal is even considered?

A comprehensive plan may reveal that we don’t even need this costly structure – a structure which will clog downtown with even more traffic, cost residents tens of millions, and tie up Third Street for months, if not years – then ultimately revert back to the church, lock, stock and barrel, leaving nothing to show for it.

Or could we be getting the same bum’s rush treatment that residents got with the ill-fated Ti Amo site purchase, which the City Council jammed through despite massive public outcry and no appraisal or feasibility study?

Representing residents’ concerns and applying true fiscal responsibility are the hallmarks of good governance. Does it seem like that’s what we’re getting? 

It’s the height of irony that at the last City Council meeting, Mayor Whalen – the driving force behind the Presbyterian deal – proclaimed, “part of the problem we’ve had with parking in town is there’s never been a comprehensive approach to it. It’s been one-off solutions here and there. Let’s try to fix this, try to fix that, add some parking here and there.” 

So why, then, is this expensive band-aid fix being rushed when we don’t have a city-wide plan? 

And why is the public not allowed to publicly review and debate with the City Council whether this $55.6 million traffic jamming project should even be considered, especially when so many other far-less-expensive options exist on land the City already owns? 

Contact your City Council members today and ask for a hold on the Presbyterian parking deal until a complete city-wide plan is approved. Common sense dictates it.

Jerome Pudwill, Laguna Beach

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  1. Completely agree with the Mayor when he states: “It’s been one-off solutions here and there. Let’s try to fix this, try to fix that, add some parking here and there.”

    I thought the master parking plan he and MPT Kempf have been spearheading this last year was an attempt to take a comprehensive look at our city parking needs and options.

    The Presbyterian Church leased land proposal is included. It needs to be thoroughly vetted by the council and residents along with all other options. No jump-the-gun, fast-track approval by this council is acceptable.

  2. I’m confused. Either the Mayor is for his parking master plan or he’s for one offs like this Presbyterian Parking structure. Can someone explain it to me bc it seems like he’s saying both things at once. Or is it just this Parking structure that he negotiated with his friend at the Presbyterian Church?


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