Parking issues bring crowds to Council

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By Brooklynn Wong

The Buena Park City Council Chambers were conspicuously full Tuesday night, with the majority of the visitors there to throw their support behind two resolutions that would make parking easier for them and their guests in their neighborhoods.

The crowds left happy.

Though the two resolutions were items 14 and 15 on a long list of items up for discussion, Councilman Steve Berry suggested that the order be shuffled around a bit, to cover those resolutions earlier on.

In the two separate areas of Val Verde Avenue and Yosemite Drive, residents have complained that parking demand is high, and that it has become exceedingly difficult to find parking for themselves and their guests. 

The resolution for Val Verde Avenue would add the area to a permit or preferential parking district by increasing the boundaries of a district that already exists nearby.

As for Yosemite Drive, there are only two ways in and out of the neighborhood, and overflow parking from nearby apartment and condo complexes is encroaching into the neighborhood. This resolution would create a preferential or permit parking district on Lassen Circle, Lassen Drive, Sequoia Drive and Yosemite Drive.

Council was in favor of both of these resolutions, passing each 5-0.

Councilman Fred Smith said about the parking, “It is a nightmare.”

Mayor Pro Tem Art Brown said, “It’s horrible. There’s no place to park.”

Other matters of discussion included announcing a county-wide Small Business Seminar that will be hosted in Buena Park at the Ehlers Event Center on Sept. 6; Dr. Brad Fieldhouse, Executive Director of CityNet, giving an update on homelessness in Buena Park; Rick Howard, District Manager of Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District, giving numbers and explanations of invasive bug species in Buena Park this summer (their site visits and services are free because they are funded by property taxes; see ocvector.org.); and the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA) bringing in a very cute example in the form of an eight-week old Chihuahua mix of the animals they have available for adoption (see seaaca.org).

Rita Topalian, a candidate for State Senate, was present and introduced herself.

With two months remaining until the City Council vote, there was some discussion about whether council members can endorse other council members. Councilwoman Beth Swift said this is a practice that has been going on for years in most cities nationwide, and admitted that she has personally endorsed Mayor Virginia Vaughn this year. While still ambiguous, the consensus seemed to be that they cannot use their influence as city employees to endorse their colleagues, but can personally endorse them.

An agreement was approved with the police department to purchase and install 360 degree pan/tilt/zoom cameras that will surveil the entertainment corridor 24/7.

And the median landscape master plan was discussed. Long-term, the city wants to improve the appearance of the city’s medians. Smith insisted that Beach Boulevard be the priority. However, Caltrans owns part of the thoroughfare. The Council voted 5-0 to approve an agreement with Rabben/Herman Design Office in the amount of $131,000 to begin making a plan, bringing Caltrans on board and prioritizing Beach Boulevard.

The next meeting will be on Sept. 11 at 5 p.m.

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