In anticipation of snow season, and bearing in mind the severe snows of last season, the City of Big Bear Lake is preparing a policy for overnight parking when snow conditions are in effect. As explained by City Manager Jeff Mathieu at the October 26 City Council meeting, “This is a resource to mitigate the towing of cars. It’s a courtesy we’re trying to provide our second homeowners, our residents and visitors.” When snow conditions are called into effect by the City’s Public Works Department, no vehicles are to be parked on city streets, to allow for both snow removal and the safe passage of emergency vehicles. In consideration of, namely, second homeowners who arrive in Big Bear, often late on Friday night, the new overnight parking policy would allow for those travelers to drop off their stuff and then leave the vehicle in a designated public parking lot, thus allowing opportunity to clear their driveways of snow without having to leave the car in the street in the interim. As Mayor Rick Herrick reasoned, we spend a lot of money trying to get these people here and, when they get a ticket and subsequent tow, word-of-mouth frustration hurts tourism—or, as Mathieu said, “We get a black eye in the hospitality sector.” As originally drafted by city staff, the policy would allow for overnight parking in one of four lots, two of those being in the Village. However, given public feedback, particularly from Village merchants concerned about the lack of available retail parking, City Council opted to narrow the scope of overnight parking options, and those will now include the lot at the Civic Center (where the PAC is) and the Alden lot, just east of Sandy’s Sports Bar and a block east of Knickerbocker. Councilmember Liz Harris asked that the revised wording of the yet-to-be-adopted policy would also more clearly define “emergency snow situation” and, given public input, a policy that would address campers and RVs in the overnight parking option. A more clearly defined overnight snow parking policy will be presented to City Council in November, in hopes of having this option available to second homeowners, residents and visitors prior to a large snowstorm and the holiday season.
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