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Council Designates Special Parking
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In response to a complaint of parking availability by the business owner of Plaza 131, Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer asked the city council at its Dec. 2 meeting to designate that street parking on South Second Avenue in front of the business be designated only for the patrons of Plaza 131.

Whitemyer told the council that when the Gene Bianchi Community Center and adjoining plaza were constructed, South Second Avenue at East F Street was closed off, eliminating parking spaces immediately to the north of the business. He also said that because of community center events, the parking spaces on South Second Avenue as well as the community center parking lot can be filled making it difficult for patrons of Plaza 131 to find parking.

In order to help the viability of the establishment, he recommended that the parking spaces in front of the building be designated specifically for that building.

Plaza 131, opened in April 2013, is located at 131 S. Second Ave and sublets its spaces to health and beauty services and a clothing outlet.

While certain private parking lots are designated for specific businesses, no other single business in the city is afforded with exclusive on-street parking areas or has a reserved number of street spaces for their use.

The item, which was a consent agenda item but pulled for public discussion, was unanimously passed by the council but raises doubt to the legality of the move and raises a question of the authority of a city to make such a decision giving certain public street parking to the solitary use of a single business.

Section 18 of the Oakdale Municipal Code allows the city to regulate parking times on city streets or lots and grant permits for extended times, but nothing gives the council the authority to mandate that those using certain spots utilize a specified business.

Currently, there is no specified city ordinance for enforcement of a violation for parking in a specified business-only space and establishing an ordinance may rely on defining “patron” and a host of other legal factors not found in the code.

The California Vehicle Code also allows municipalities to regulate times or grant special permits for exemptions for on street parking, but private business exclusivity of public street usage is not offered.

Calls to City Attorney Tom Hallinan about the legal authority of the city’s decision were not returned by press time.

A check by The Leader to surrounding small and large cities could not locate a single jurisdiction that gives specific on-street usage to a single facility.

Also, as a general rule, nothing in the city’s general plan for the Central Commercial District that Plaza 131 falls under calls for any of the businesses to have designated parking.

“In the past businesses in the CC (Central Commercial) district were not required to supply parking for their business,” said Oakdale Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Guardiola. “I haven’t seen anything like this come up in my 12 years at the chamber.”

According to Whitemyer, the matter was originally heard by the traffic commission but did not pass because the business owner, Kama Robinson, did not attend the meeting. Whitemyer said Robinson later spoke at a subsequent traffic commission meeting during the public comment portion and he got the sense, even though it had not been an agenda item, that the commission was in agreement so he moved the item to the council.

“I believe that the community center project impacted them more than others,” Whitemyer said. “Robinson said the property owners also told her the city had guaranteed them the parking spaces when they bought the building, but we haven’t been able to find that the city guaranteed them anything.”

The building at the address was vacant from 2005 to 2011 and then for over a 12-month period in 2012 to 2013; it has been owned by Jeffrey Guadio since 2001.

No contact information for Guadio was available.