I am impressed with how the city of Rancho Mirage in Southern California is handling a change in their local codes. Prior to this month, it was against the law to charge for parking in Rancho Mirage. If you owned a hotel or shopping center or theater, you had to provide free parking, period. And that included Valet Parking
Under the new rules, businesses may charge for parking, or not. It’s their choice. The city can also begin charging for parking. They didn’t promote this as a way to raise money for the city, but as a way of helping merchants lower their cost of doing business. The comment from the city council was that this was a “reverse tax.” It was a way to put money back in the pockets of the businesses. Companies who had to cough up for construction and maintenance of parking facilities can now defray their costs. And so can the city.
Residents of the very up market community near Palm Springs are exempt from paying for parking and will be issued decals.
My only issue is with the last sentence. I agree with one councilperson. He noted that there are snowbirds visiting Rancho Mirage. Who is a resident? The homeowner, the renter, or both?
My take is a bit different. If money was now being generated by parking to pay for the parking, why should the residents of the city not pay. The argument was that they paid taxes and those taxes paid for the parking (not true, in the cases of the businesses, but there you go).
Now, however, the parking is to pay for itself, so there is no reason for the citizens of the fair community to not pay their way like everyone else.
One way or the other, Shoupistas will win out. In this case its lack of money, in another it’s the community getting behind a merchants association to promote downtown business activity.