A revised Longboat Key parking ordinance has some Key business owners worried.
The new ordinance, which is set for second reading and approval at the Longboat Key Town Commission’s Monday, May 2 regular meeting, does not allow for any parking along the entire length of Gulf of Mexico Drive, except for lawfully nonconforming parking spaces that were created before the parking ordinance existed, such as the parking spaces at Twin Shores and Gulfshore of Longboat Key mobile-home parks.
The ordinance currently states that parking is not allowed where official signs prohibit parking or stopping.
David Miller, owner of Cannons Marina, asked for a copy of the revised ordinance last week, because he was worried if his marina would be ticketed for parking boat transports, boats or boat trailers near Gulf of Mexico Drive during working hours.
“The ordinance would not work for me or the landscapers who park along Gulf of Mexico Drive while they do their yard work,” Miller said.
But Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Simpson and town attorney David Persson said there shouldn’t be any issues.
“There is a provision that allows for legal nonconforming parking to continue,” Persson said.
Police Chief Al Hogle confirmed there won’t be any problems and noted that the revised parking ordinance was drafted because there was a consensus to reduce signage on Gulf of Mexico Drive, including excessive no-parking signs.
“The consensus was to have the current level of enforcement with a reduced number of signs,” Hogle said. “This level of enforcement has been very effective with ‘verbal guidance’ from our officers on unusual parking, to parking citations if there is an extreme lack of compliance.”
Hogle explained that most parking tickets are issued around the beach-access locations.
“It is my intention to direct officers to allow businessmen, including yard maintenance workers, marinas and repairman, to continue business as usual,” Hogle said.
However, Hogle said, problem parking areas exist at the BP gas station and car spa and Harry’s Corner Store.
“Those will require special monitoring and, possibly, special signs,” Hogle said.
Lynn Christensen, co-owner of Harry’s Continental Kitchens, said she wasn’t aware of the revised parking ordinance.
“Sometimes trucks park there when delivering products to the store,” Christensen said. “I will get a copy of the ordinance and review it.”
The police chief also said the Florida Department of Transportation is creating signs for both entrances to the island that will inform motorists that no parking is allowed off Gulf of Mexico Drive.
Hogle doesn’t anticipate any future problems and says cars that are parked along Gulf of Mexico Drive for a party at someone’s home also will not receive tickets.
“In eight years of working with the community in this fashion, the police department has not had a situation that resulted in any sort of parking ticket contestment,” Hogle said.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected]