ORINDA -- Visitors to this city's shops and restaurants may soon have a new way to beat the downtown parking crunch.
Now, businesses will be able offer their customers valet parking.
Businesses wishing to provide the service must apply for a permit and would be required to make the valet parking available to any patron of the downtown, regardless of where they plan to shop or dine.
The City Council discussed valet parking after Theatre Square restaurant Table 24 asked the city how it could offer the service. But the policy approved by the council last week applies to the entire downtown.
It also was crafted to fit into the Orinda's current permitting framework, said City Attorney Osa Wolff.
"This is not a policy about valet services," said Monica Pacheco, assistant to the city manager. "The city is not intending to get into the business of providing valet services or managing valet services."
That job would be left to the business applying for the permit, who would be responsible for selecting and working with a valet operator.
Table 24 co-owner Michael Karp did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
The restaurant is interested in using parking spaces along Brookwood Road for its valet service, Pacheco told the council, and cars would be driven around the corner into the Theatre Square parking lot. Orinda's Chamber of Commerce supports valet parking and feels it could bring a touch of class to the downtown, said chamber President Sue Breedlove.
"You see valet parking all the time in communities that have limited parking," she said. "That's really what we have downtown."
The council was similarly supportive.
"One of the big goals of our council is to promote our local businesses so I'm enthusiastically in support of finding a way to help them thrive and prosper," said Councilwoman Sue Severson.
Contact Jonathan Morales at 925-943-8048.