A move to establish a restricted overnight parking zone beginning about a block from the Huntington Beach coast is drawing opposition from the mayor who argues it discourages non-coastal residents from going to the beach.

About 366 residents living within a zone bounded by 7th and 9th Streets and Palm and Walnut Avenues signed a petition calling for the district.

Visitors would not be able to park in the three block wide and five-block-deep district between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily without a posted permit.

But Mayor Matthew Harper is wary the time restrictions could be increased once the zone is established.

“You create this iron curtain along the coast where people can’t park, and even if it’s overnight, a midnight stroll with your wife, girlfriend, or significant other should not be against the law,” Harper said.

Harper said parking zones that require permits create a division of those who can afford to live by the beach, and those who cannot.

“But these are public streets paid for by the public,” Harper said.

Huntington Beach State Park, which currently charges $15 for daily parking, is closed after 10 p.m.

Huntington Beach City Council members are set to decide on the zone Monday.

Also on the agenda, Councilman Joe Carchio wants to initiate a paper bag-buyback program for consumers who receive sacks with torn handles.

Customers would be able to return defective bags within 10 days with proof of purchase. The proposal comes less than a week after Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a statewide ban on plastic bags.

Recently passed legislation requires that retailers charge at least ten cents for each paper bag.

Monday’s council meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the city’s Civic Center.

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