Supe seeks police authority over parking garages, lots 

San Francisco’s parking industry faces tougher regulations under a plan to have the Police Department take over the permitting process.

Background checks on lot operators and criminal histories of employees who work at lots or garages would be required in order to obtain business permits under legislation introduced by Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier. Currently, permitting is handled by the Fire Department.

“It’s a cash business,” Alioto-Pier said. “We need to be able to regulate it a little more strictly.”

The Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee will vote today on the legislation. It was recommended for approval by the Small Business Commission.

“Not one specific thing set this off. The Police Department can do background checks,” Alioto-Pier said. “Some of these lots are in iffy neighborhoods and there are some safety concerns.”

Those working at the lots or garages would be required to wear identification badges.

The proposal comes as the board is considering placing a 10 percent parking tax increase, from 25 to 35 percent, on the November ballot. Opponents of the measure have suggested that increased oversight of parking operations could yield additional revenue for The City. There are about 550 parking operations in San Francisco, and they are audited once every three years by the tax collector. In fiscal year 2009-10, The City collected $65 million in parking tax revenue.

The legislation would need approval by the full board to take effect.

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