Potential parking garage solution in the works for Del Mar Highlands parking woes

By Karen Billing

Del Mar Highlands Town Center will consider a parking garage to help deal with frustrating parking conditions at its site.

At the Jan. 23 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting, board member Laura Copic said that on the weekends it seems like the paid valet takes up the vast majority of the lot from 3 p.m. on and it’s impossible to find a spot at the busy center.

“It’s a nightmare to park in there,” Copic said.

Elizabeth Schreiber, Del Mar Highlands general manager, said that she has heard the complaints and they are working toward finding a solution.

“We will be back later this year on the specifics (of the parking structure),” Schreiber said. “We’re really trying to do everything we can.”

Schreiber said the center is actually over-parked from what is required by the city: They are required to have 1,400 spaces and they have 1,603 spaces.

“We have a 5:7 parking ratio where we’re only required a 5:0 (meaning for every 1,000 square feet of building they have to provide five parking spaces) and it still is not enough,” Schreiber said.

To help deal with the parking issues, Schreiber said that over the last year they have added spaces where possible, created short-term stalls for quick pick-ups, and brought in the valet program to enable them to stack cars.

Schreiber said that while it looks like there is a lot of valet, only 6 percent of the lot is valet and it ebbs and flows depending on the usage. The center subsidizes the valet parking services as they only charge customers $4 to valet when it costs $10 a car.