Parents organize to fight parking ban around Capistrano Valley High

File photo: Parking restrictions on public streets around high schools are stirring debates, among them in Mission Viejo.
File photo: Parking restrictions on public streets around high schools are stirring debates, among them in Mission Viejo. Photo by Timothy Valentine via Flickr Creative Commons

Mission Viejo is one of several Southern California communities weathering a debate over whether to keep students from parking on the public streets around high school campuses.

“To me, it completely boils down to people choose to live next to a high school and, therefore, you will see teenagers and parents there,” said Stacy Joyce, whose 12th-grade son attends Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo.

The city’s transportation commission heard complaints from Joyce and others who are opposed to the city’s parking ban on public streets around the school for everyone except residents with permits. The ban is in place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, during the school year.

Joyce and those who agree with her want the city council to overturn or reduce the ban when it considers the issue in the next few months.

Parking restrictions around Capistrano Valley High and other Mission Viejo schools have been around for about a decade. 

“The neighborhood had experienced some vandalism issues by the students, urinating in the streets, changing their clothes in the streets, littering the streets,” said Mission Viejo Mayor Cathy Schlicht.

The first restrictions banned non-resident parking for a few hours in the morning. Then, last year, the city council approved the eight-hour ban. 

Joyce said few parents were notified that officials were considering expanding the hours of the parking restriction. The council vote included a provision that the restrictions be brought up for review by city officials in one year. 

The mayor said the 2,400-student Capistrano Valley High has too many teens with driver’s licenses and the school district should take action to accommodate them, such as building a parking structure on campus.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with the city and community to address this issue with the resources we have available to us,” said Capistrano Unified spokeswoman Julie Hatchel. But she said there’s no budget set aside to build a parking structure.

In 2013, Newport Beach and Redondo Beach city officials approved similar parking restrictions around high school campuses in their communities after resident complaints.

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