By Amy Senk | Corona del Mar Today
After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations between staff of the California Coastal Commission and State Parks, the Commission last week approved pay stations at Crystal Cove State Park that allow visitors to pay by the hour.
The kiosks were installed last year and activated in October. The park was seeking “after-the-fact approval,” according to a staff report.
The pay kiosks are located at lots at Reef Point, Pelican Point, Los Trancos, Moro Day Use and the Moro Campground area, and offer visitors the option to pay $4 an hour or a flat fee of $15 for the entire day, or $20 on holidays.
Previously, visitors had to pay the flat $15 day-use fee, which caused some potential beach-goers to turn around and leave, the staff report said.
That staff report recommended approval of the kiosks, but a condition to approval is that the permit be for three years and that Commission staff work with state park officials to “develop monitoring and data collection protocols over the next year to determine the effects of offering different parking rate options such as hourly and seasonal rates, on public access and visitation patterns.”
The Coastal Commissioners decided to issue a permit for five years, with a report to be presented as a non-action item in three years.
The commissioners discussed the need for State Parks and the Coastal Commission to work together, although State Parks must generate income to remain viable, and the commissioners need to protect coastal access.
“The nexus between our missions is being presented right here, in a parking lot,” Commissioner Steve Kinsey said. “There’s no such thing as free parking.”
Similar permits also were issued for Doheny State Beach and San Clemente State Beach. The permits had been on the Coastal Commission’s February agenda but were withdrawn.