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City Exempts Realtors from Parking Laws

Apr 01, 2017 07:10AM, Published by DigMB Staff, Categories: Homes



Editor's note: Thanks for playing along, everyone, and happy April Fool's Day! We're now accepting suggestions for next year's April 1 story!

Beginning today, realtors who display a new city-issued pass will be exempt from a wide range of parking restrictions.

For instance, parking in a red zone for "10 minutes or so max" to go show a house would not be a violation for cars sporting the new realtor parking permit.

Double parking with the hazard lights flashing would likewise be permitted, even though trying to sell a house is not, literally, a hazard. And a realtor who parks in a street sweeping zone during prohibited hours would not be cited.

New signage has begun to be placed around the city making the realtor exemption clear.

The Manhattan Beach City Council enacted the ordinance for realtor parking as a consent-calendar item six weeks ago, with the matter generating no debate or notice until the measure’s effective date, April 1, neared.

Realtors have long argued that the city's tight parking supply in many parts of town makes it difficult to get to appointments and to show clients properties. Since they don't intend to use prohibited parking spaces for very long before moving on, members of the real estate community feel that they should not be punished for simply doing their jobs.

“This city earns $30 million a year from property taxes,” said realtor Craig Mensch. “Who do you think generates that revenue? Real estate agents, that’s who. So you have to let us work without constant harassment by all these meter maids.”

Mona Little, considered by some to be a City Council gadfly for her constant requests for and reviews of city documents, along with her religious attendance and speaking out at council meetings, was the first person outside city government to discover the new policy. She only found it in a stack of paperwork Thursday. She told DigMB that she was taken aback by the ordinance once she read it.

“I did not realize at first what they were doing with this ordinance,” Little said, “and of course there was no debate on it. It is a series of exemptions pasted into the city codes. But now I get it. And it was basically a huge giveaway by the outgoing council members to their realtor buddies.”

Asked for an opinion on the exemption, however, Little said she supported it. 

“OK, well, however this was approved,” Little said, “it’s good policy. I think we all appreciate what realtors do for our city. Several are my friends. So I’d say this was probably overdue.”

Realtors won’t be free to park at actual meters without paying, and won’t be allowed to overstay in time-restricted zones, such as the 2-hour parking areas sprinkled around residential areas near downtown.

The purpose of the realtor parking exemption, according to the new city ordinance, is “to offer limited, unconventional parking options for the real estate community while conducting business vital to the city,” in this case meaning selling houses.

Some residents just learning about the new policy are wondering why only realtors are being offered a parking-law exemption.
 
“You have to think about the moms and dads in our community, too,” said Sheila Chafing, who has kids at MBMS and one of the elementary schools.

“Sometimes if you’re late getting the kids to school, you don’t have a choice but to park in the red, or maybe in the handicapped zone,” said Chafing. “It’s only a few minutes, but I’ve seen the police swoop in and issue huge tickets. It’s not fair to our kids."

Realtors with school-age children, however, will no longer have any worries at dropoff.

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