Municipalities May Not Grant Preferential Parking to Residents Based on Dwelling Type
California Attorney General Addresses Local Preferential Parking Regulations
Local authorities may not institute preferential parking regulations that discriminate among residents based on the residents’ dwelling type, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a formal opinion. The opinion was issued earlier this month in response to a request from Sen. Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) to clarify the Legislature’s delegation of powers under California Vehicle Code section 22507.
Many cities have used these powers to enact resident-only parking regulations to prevent the parking impacts of neighboring uses from spilling into adjacent neighborhoods. Cities have significant latitude to tailor preferential parking programs to meet local circumstances, but Harris concluded that singling out discrete classes of residents is not among the powers delegated under section 22507.
Section 22507 authorizes city councils to restrict or prohibit parking on public streets they designate by resolution or ordinance. Cities can also restrict or prohibit parking on designated streets during certain or all hours of the day. The statute expressly authorizes cities to grant preferential parking privileges to residents for their use and the use of their guests. However, Harris concluded that section 22507 requires resident-only permits to be available to all residents of adjacent streets, not just residents of a particular dwelling type. For example, a city could not grant permits to residents of single family and small two- or four-unit dwellings while denying permits to residents of a similarly situated high-density apartment complex.
The Attorney General is authorized to opine on questions of law to state legislators, heads of state departments, district attorneys, county counsels, sheriffs, and to city attorneys in their prosecutorial capacities. Though they are not bound by Attorney General Opinions, courts accord them “great respect” and “great weight.”
If you have any questions about this opinion or how it may impact your local agency, please contact the attorney authors of this Legal Alert listed to the right in the firm’s Municipal Law practice group, or your BB&K attorney.
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