Ventura city officials agreed Monday not to include paid parking in the downtown structure as an option in negotiations with two downtown property owners.

“Over the last few weeks, the city has heard from concerned citizens about the proposed changes to the Santa Clara parking structure. We recognize that this is a significant issue that matters to our community,” City Manager Mark Watkins stated in a press release. “Listening to the voices of our residents, we are further negotiating with the interested parties to continue to explore options that do not include paid parking.”

The issue arose when developer Victor Georgino, who owns majority property owner of the downtown Century movie theater block, put his property up for sale. While the city had agreed to allow movie theater customers full access to all 494 parking spaces available in the structure, the city, 10 years after Georgino’s agreement was made, leased 57 spaces to Dan Fredrickson, who owns 60 S. California St., where Lure is located. Because these agreements were in direct conflict, negotiations began with city officials to resolve the issue. Paid parking was one option. City officials also said that the structure was often full on the weekends and paid parking was an option in long term parking management.