|There was no shortage of parking spaces at Blue Shutters|
on the morning of August 19.
By Linda Felaco
Was it because the beaches were on the agenda that the AC was running during last night's town council meeting? At one point, Chief Shippee saw me huddled inside my jacket with my hands in the pockets and got up to adjust the thermostat. Bless you, Chief Shippee, even if you do end up bringing the accursed red-light cameras to town.
But I digress.
Our beaches seem to engender no end of angst, and last night was no exception. Parks and Recreation Director Jay Primiano went to the podium to request that the Town Council "revise §158-29.A.4 relative to the number of Resident beach passes allowed per household," namely to permit bona fide town residents to purchase beach stickers for as many vehicles as they own, register, and pay taxes on here in town rather than the current limit of two per household. Given that the members of the town council average about three vehicles apiece, you'd think this would've passed unanimously.
But you'd be wrong.
Councilor Slattery immediately raised the old canard about beach parking already being difficult and overcrowded, a phenomenon that as a religious beachgoer I have never once experienced. To which Primiano responded that the people crowding the parking lot would at least be town residents, which is of course to be preferred.
Councilor Avedisian then made the case that the proposed change in the ordinance would be beneficial to families whose schedules may not allow them to all go to the beach at the same time and that letting households buy more stickers wouldn't necessarily mean that every vehicle from any one household would be parked at the beach at the same time. Oh, and of course it'd increase town revenue. Sweet.
Then Councilor DiBello, who by my lights should have recused herself from the whole discussion given her vested interest in what goes on at the beaches, made a very heartwarming speech about how allowing some people extra stickers would mean that not all families would be able to use the beaches. Because of course if your family owns four vehicles, and the town allowed you to put beach stickers on all of them, every member of your family would start driving to the beach in separate vehicles.
To which Primiano responded that his department has tripled the number of bike racks at the beaches, to good effect.
|There's never a problem parking if you go after 5,|
plus you can save yourself the price of the beach sticker.
Though I've noticed that details don't seem to be DiBello's strong suit. Seems like whenever she's at a council meeting, she frequently interrupts the proceedings to ask procedural questions of the town solicitor.
In the end, DiBello's was the only vote against allowing the increase in the number of beach stickers per household. Then again, what does she care; as she's already informed us in the course of Beachparking-gate, she has parking rights in her private association lot "(closer than town parking!)" and doesn't need to use the town beach lot. [Quote appears on page 10 of the linked document.]
Seems to me that anytime the subject of beach parking comes up, it's to lament the "overcrowding" without any practical solutions ever being offered. Which frankly becomes irritating after a while. Skip the handwringing and solve the problem already. If it really is such a problem. Which to me it isn't; I've never once been unable to park at the beach, and I've never won a car on a game show, either, so it's not that I'm an especially lucky person.
But granting for the sake of argument that beach parking is such a terrible problem, here's one thing we could do: Reconfigure the lots to allow for a few motorcycle spots, which take up less room, and offer stickers for them at a discounted rate. (Currently, you have to pay the same price for a sticker no matter what type of vehicle.) I'm betting at least some of those "excess" stickers would go on motorcycles, mopeds, or scooters.
Here's another idea: Since the marina there by Johnny Angel's sells beach parking too, perhaps the town could come to some sort of arrangement whereby when the town lot is full, residents with stickers could park there for free, or at a discount. Maybe offer the marina a break on their taxes as a quid pro quo.
Just do something, anything, other than tell me over and over how overcrowded it is.