CVS on Coast Village Road tows unauthorized vehicles; nearby Honor Bar relies on underground garage
Two Montecito businesses are doing what they can to cope with the diminished number of parking spaces on Coast Village Road, exacerbated by the outdoor dining parklets extending into the street.
One, the Honor Bar, a local restaurant that’s packed to the seams on weekends, is going a more traditional route, using an underground parking garage reserved for Montecito Plaza tenants like them.
The other, CVS, the local branch of a national pharmacy chain, is employing what some might consider less conventional means.
A store employee confirmed Monday that CVS is towing cars from its lot that it determines belong to anyone who’s not shopping at the pharmacy. That includes people dining at the restaurants across the street.
The News-Press learned recently that sometimes less than half of the 30 or so parking spaces are used by CVS customers.
“That is true, but they’re probably being nice about it,” the employee, who declined to give her name, told the News-Press Monday. “Sometimes there are two people in the store, and the entire parking lot is full.”
CVS has about 15 spaces available in front of the store and 15 in the back, she said.
Most times, the spaces are being used by people who park there and walk to a nearby restaurant to eat, she said.
Others are being used by “some people who work around here,” the employee said.
She said the situation has been going on for years, but with the parklets gobbling up precious street parking, “it’s just getting worse now. It’s extremely worse.”
The employee confirmed that the store’s manager often calls Love’s Towing in Santa Barbara to arrange for it to come and tow away offenders in the CVS lot.
Asked how often this happens, she said, “Whenever we get a chance.”
She added that CVS has put up signs warning illegal parkers that their vehicles might end up being towed.
The Honor Bar, meanwhile, appears to be taking full advantage of its lease allowing restaurant patrons to park in the Montecito Plaza’s underground garage.
“We have Honor Bar spaces in the Plaza garage,” Marissa Bloom, Honor Bar general manager, told the News-Press Monday.
“It’s pretty common knowledge” there’s a parking lot there, she said, adding that the Honor Bar is simply part of a larger group of businesses whose customers are allowed to park there.
Ms. Bloom was uncertain whether the restaurant’s “guests” are using more spaces since the parklets were erected than they did before.
“Parking has always been what it’s been,” she said.