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Agreement could ease parking problems

Flower Street residents are complaining of Mother's Market employees congesting the spaces, rather than parking in their designated structure.

June 15, 2010|By Sarah Peters, sarah.peters@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer )

An agreement between Mother's Market & Kitchen in Costa Mesa and the owners of a Newport Boulevard parking structure is intended to ease tensions over parking congestion between employees and nearby residents on the Eastside.

Mother's, located on Newport Boulevard and Flower Street, entered into an agreement last week to provide for 100 employee parking spaces on the top level of a parking structure located about a block away at 1901 Newport Blvd., said Debra Robino, a market spokeswoman.

Plans for a second employee parking location are also being considered.

Mother's relocated to Newport and Flower from 17th Street about two weeks ago.

Since its opening, the store has seen a flood of customers attracted to its supply of hard-to-find organic foods and natural consumer goods.

Longtime neighborhood resident Amy Elliott said she can't find parking on her street to save her life.

And she's not the only neighbor without a parking spot.

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The formerly quiet Flower Street is jam-packed with vehicles, which park on the street from morning to night. The vast majority of them don't belong to neighborhood residents, Elliott said.

"I was all for [Mother's Market] and having a grocery store this close to where I live," Elliott said. "I had no idea what we were all in for. It's been nothing but a snowball effect with the employees parking on the street causing all kinds of problems around here."

Under city zoning code, businesses are required to provide four parking spaces per 1,000 square feet, said Costa Mesa Senior Planner Mel Lee.

While Mother's has a spacious parking lot for customers, market management has asked its workforce of some 120 employees not to park there.

Before the market's grand opening June 2, the store asked the employees not to park in the customer lot, Robino said.

"We did not anticipate being as busy as we were," Robino said of the unexpected surge of customers. "We want to be good neighbors in every respect, and we are reacting as quickly as possible."

However, as of Monday afternoon, Elliott counted more than 30 cars that she did not recognize along Flower to Fullerton Avenue. About nine cars were in the designated employee parking lot.

Robino said that Mother's is working on incentive plans for employees who ride bikes or car pool.

"We plan to attack this at every angle," Robino said. "We have many great employees who have been with us for many years. I am sure that they will comply once we have permanent employee parking."

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