Santa Barbara- The future of downtown businesses is at stake. The city of Santa Barbara may have to sell it’s public parking lots in downtown, in an effort to generate funding for the state. The state’s department of finance has released a trailer bill stating that all parking lots and structures owned by the former redevelopment agency is to be considered surplus property, and sold off rather than transferred to the city. It’s the latest fallout from the loss of the city’s RDA. Several city council members say forcing the hand of the city to sell its parking garages would have devastating impacts on the entire infrastructure of the community. In a letter to the state, Mayor Helene Schneider has expressed her strong objection saying, “to declare these public parking lots as not serving a governmental purpose and force the sale of them to a private entity could be detrimental to the long-term economic vitality of downtown and upend over 50 years of sound community planning.”If the city loses control of its parking lots, parking rates could increase, and residents could lose the 75 minute free parking. The Mayor’s letter was sent out on Tuesday. They’ll be waiting for the state’s response. KEY News Reporter Shirin Rajaee reports.
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