Parking along Broadway between Lois Avenue and Bayside Drive in the Longbeach Village is currently prohibited between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
But the owners of Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub and Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant, both located on Broadway, want to extend parking by an additional two hours, to 11 p.m.
“Both Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant and Mar Vista Restaurant are proud to have a large following of international guests,” wrote Mar Vista owner Ed Chiles and Moore’s co-owner Alan Moore in an Aug. 21 email to Town Manager Dave Bullock. “The last thing we want is to have any of our vacationers issued a parking ticket. We have been using this parking for more than 40 years without any problem.”
The Longboat Key Town Commission discussed the request at its Monday, Sept. 24, regular workshop and reached consensus to move the request through to first reading and public hearing at its Oct. 1 meeting.
According to a memo from Town Planner Steve Schield, the existing restrictions have been in place for a number of years, but, until recently, restrictions weren’t posted, and police were unable to restrict parking hours.
Signage was posted after Longbeach Village resident Samir Ragheb complained about parking along Broadway, describing it as “untenable” at the commission’s April 2 meeting.
“If both sides of the street are parked, which is a fact at the moment, then the street is only good for one way,” he said at the time.
Ragheb told the Longboat Observer in April, which is generally peak season on the Key, that Broadway fills up not only with diners but also with people traveling to and from Jewfish Key.
The Longboat Observer was unable to reach Ragheb for comment.
According to Schield’s memo, police records show that one parking ticket was issued in the area since April. The ticket stemmed from a vehicle that was parked near a fire hydrant during the restaurants’ fireworks celebration July 2. Restrictions haven’t been in place during the height of season.
The memo states that prior to recent overnight parking by Jewfish Key residents and guests, the town received few complaints about parking in the area.
“The police department staff does not have a concern that extending the parking time on the street would create a problem for the neighborhood,” the memo states. “They pointed out that the 11 p.m. time would be consistent with other restricted parking time at our beach accesses and other public areas.”
Village resident Gene Jaleski spoke against the request at the workshop.
“There is no real reason to allow the steady encroachment of the business community into the residential lifestyle we enjoy,” he said.
Commissioner Jack Duncan wanted to hear more about the impact of the request on neighbors.
Vice Mayor David Brenner suggested moving the request through, expecting to hear resident reactions during public hearings.