Updated 3:36 p.m.
Garin and Dry Creek Regional Park visitors who like to park on Tamarack Drive will soon be out of luck.
The City Council voted Tuesday night to approve restricted access along a portion of the road leading to the park that residents say is drawing overcrowding, increased crime and disturbances.
Non-Tamarack Drive residents will be limited to parking only Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. along Tamarack Drive from the property line of 663 Tamarack Dr. to the end of the road where it meets the park and Palmetto Drive from 33151 Palmetto Dr. to the intersection of Palmetto and Tamarack.
The restrictions will be in place for a one-year review period.
The restrictions impact the frontage of about 24 homes, according to a city staff report. Residents will be required to purchase annual parking permits and guest placards.
Anyone parking outside of the allotted time without a parking permit or placard will be subject to a $60 fine. The area will be patrolled and enforced by police cadets.
Tamarack and Palmetto Drive residents brought the issue to city staff earlier this year, claiming they were unable to park their own cars in front of their homes because of park visitors. They also told staff that these unwanted neighborhood guests are noisy and would often leave litter and dog feces.
Some speakers at Tuesday night’s Council meeting even said they’ve heard gunshots coming from the park at night.
According to the staff report, police have had to visit the area “numerous times” regarding noise and other nighttime disturbances at the park.
Just last Friday, residents reported , which led to an hours-long search for the suspects, one of whom eventually got away.
“We’re taking back our neighborhood,” Cathy Keesee, a Palmetto Drive resident, said before the Council Tuesday night. “We want to keep it clean, we want to keep the drugs out, we want to keep the villains out, we want to keep it a nice area for everybody.”
Not everyone was supportive of the restrictions.
“As a resident of Union City, it’d be nice to park anywhere in Union City,” said Timothy Swenson, who doesn’t reside in the area but frequents the park regularly. [Editor’s note: Swenson contributes a weekly blog to Union City Patch]
Swenson said the Tamarack Drive entry to the park was a better access point than May Drive, where a parking lot exists for visitors.
The May Road lot is only a short distance away from Tamarack Drive. The lot is open seven days a week until dusk and provides access to the park’s southern trails. The East Bay Regional Park District website lists a $5 per vehicle parking fee and a $2 per dog fee, though the City of Unon City staff said the fee is not yet enforced and parking there is free.
Mayor Mark Green said Tamarack Drive was a “special circumstance” because of its access to the park.
Though area residents asked for a 24-hour, seven days a week restriction, Green suggested allowing public access from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as “a more elegant solution.”
“It keeps your weekends sacred, keeps the early morning off the docket, it keeps the evenings off the docket but, again, for people who want to use this legitimately in the middle of the day Monday through Friday, it allows that activity to continue,” Green said.
With the new restrictions will come signage along Tamarack and Palmetto drives, which will cost about $3,000 to install, staff said.
The city will also encourage the East Bay Regional Park District to place informational signs along Mission Boulevard and near the entrance to the May Road parking lot.