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Parking in Avila Beach? Make sure to have your license plate number ready

The main public parking lot at Avila Beach will soon feature permit machines that record license plate numbers to prevent pass sharing.
The main public parking lot at Avila Beach will soon feature permit machines that record license plate numbers to prevent pass sharing. kleslie@thetribunenews.com

The days of illicitly giving an unexpired parking pass to other beachgoers at Avila Beach are coming to an end.

The Port San Luis Harbor District will unveil new parking pass machines at the main pay-to-park lot in the coming weeks that will require users to input their license plate number, which will then be printed on the pass. Passes cost $6 and are valid from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The change is aimed at cutting down on pass transferring — where people give their unexpired permits to others just arriving at the lot — which district officials say has been a notable problem. Revenue from the passes goes to district operations like harbor patrol, its lifeguard program and infrastructure maintenance.

“Hopefully, people will understand that the revenue from this is going to making their experience better,” Harbor District Manager Andrea Lueker said.

Though the practice of giving away unexpired passes is widespread, Lueker noted that it has always technically been prohibited: The passes even say “non-transferable.”

The software for the new procedure is still being worked on, so visitors won’t see the change for around three more weeks, she said. Lueker said the district will attempt to notify people once the software is ready through social media and signs at the lot so they know to take a picture of their plates before leaving their cars.

The switch could initially increase lines at the pass machines as visitors scramble to remember their license plate numbers, but Lueker said the district expects that will be temporary while people get used to the new procedure.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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