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Longboat Key Tuesday, Sep. 29, 2020 1 year ago

Longboat Key commissioners to consider resident-permit parking proposal in November

Parking issues have plagued the Longbeach Village neighborhood for years.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

The town appears closer to moving forward with a resident-permit parking program for the Longbeach Village neighborhood.

Later this fall, town commissioners are set to have the first reading of a proposal to try to help alleviate parking woes that have plagued north-end residents for years.

“I will just state for the record that I think it is our understanding, probably all of ours, that since this is a new type of provision for us that we are going to be looking at it carefully —  staff, members of the public, members of the Village — to make sure it's working properly,” Mayor Ken Schneier said. “And if not, they will take appropriate steps to correct that.”

The proposed resident-only parking area is for residents of the Longbeach Village neighborhood where parking is otherwise allowed along Broadway Street east of Palm Avenue.

The proposed ordinance states the purpose of its resident-only parking program is to reduce hazard traffic conditions; protect residents from excessive noise and unreasonable burdens; preserve the value of private property; protect children and pedestrians; and promote traffic safety.

There are three proposed permit types: a resident parking permit, a guest parking permit and a temporary parking permit.

Town staff is set to make changes to the ordinance before commissioners’ first reading. It includes allowing residents two parking permits as well as two permits for guests.

Longboat Key Planning, Zoning and Building Director Allen Parsons said for the temporary parking permits, there will be some sort of call-in provision added to let neighbors know about guests or service providers parking on the street.

Exceptions to the proposed resident-permit parking program include government vehicles, people working on residents’ properties with identifiable vehicles, contractors performing construction work at residents’ properties and the town manager could allow public parking for special events.

Town Manager Tom Harmer said that in November, town commissioners would have information on the cost and fees for the proposed permits, as well as penalties for violations. On Oct. 5, town commissioners are set to vote on whether to increase the town's illegal parking fines from $30 to $75.

A first reading of the proposed Longbeach Village resident-permit parking program is scheduled for Nov. 2 with a second reading set for Dec. 7. If commissioners vote in favor of the proposed ordinance, it would take effect in 2021.

“Hopefully, it will be cleaned up a bit, be very precise and this debate is not done by a long shot,” Schneier said.

Vice Mayor Mike Haycock said he would like to see the proposal revised to provide any Longboat Key resident the ability to apply for a permit.

“I still feel strongly that eliminating all of the parking in the Village for people that pay to keep up the streets and maintain the streets isn’t right,” Haycock said. “And so I still would like to see us change that portion of it.”

 Commissioner Sherry Dominick shared a recent experience she had about what the proposed changes could entail.

“I just put myself in the shoes of the residents there, and I know what a hardship it would be living the way they have to now with virtually no traffic control,” Dominick said. “I know what it means for me as a non-resident of that neighborhood.

“What it means is I’m going to have actually start using the valet parking when I go to the Shore, which I did last week and we parked on the street. And so, yeah, it’ll be a little bit of a hardship, but it’s not going to be impossible to go to the restaurants there. And I may have to walk a little farther, and that’s ok as far as I’m concerned.”

On Tuesday afternoon, six members of the public spoke on the proposal and the town clerk read two written items into the record. During the last several months, commissioners have also received dozens of emails from residents about the proposal.

“I think we know from our long experience of working with people in the Village, if that doesn't work, they're going to let us know about it,” At-Large Commissioner BJ Bishop said.

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Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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