The City Council may change the rules for parking on four blocks east of Main Street at Tuesday night’s public meeting.

The Council will consider creating a preferential parking zone for Fourth Street between Pico Boulevard and Ocean Park Boulevard.  The zone will also include Strand Street, Pacific Street and Bay Street between Third and Fourth streets.

Signs will prohibit parking from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. for cars without a resident permit and limit daytime use to two hours.

Under the new zone, Strand Street between Fourth and Sixth Streets will also be limited to two hours during the day except by permit.

While residents have been petitioning for the restrictions to regain spaces in front of their homes, some business owners worry their employees are losing important parking in a busy neighborhood.

“The people who are going to be hurt by this are the employees,” the owner of nearby Dogtown Coffee and Dogtown Realty, Assaf Raz said.

Most of the nearby streets are already limited to two hours, and this new zone will simply provide an exemption for nearby homeowners and tenants.  While the City has a program that allows Main Street employees to park in a lot near the beach for $100 per month, Raz says the price tag is burdensome to lower wage employees like shop attendants, baristas and clerks.

“Some of my employees are already playing checkers, running around every two hours moving their cars,” Raz said, adding he understands the overnight restrictions for residents who want to park near their homes.

“I would have appreciated it if during daytime at least they wouldn’t put restrictions on employees. Especially during business hours when most residents are at work. After 6:00 p.m., I get it.”

During traffic surveys in September last year, staff found the streets east of Main Street average between 86 and 100 percent occupancy.

Staff estimates permit sales will bring in $11,000 annually which would offset but not fully recover the cost to the City of issuing permits to residents.  New signage will cost $1,200 for all four blocks.