HOLMES BEACH – With only three members present, the Island congestion committee discussed a variety of topics last week, but made no decisions.
Chair Dick Motzer said he researched permit parking and suggested that it could be imposed from the 300 block of Gulf Drive east, with non-permit parking allowed in the 100 and 200 blocks, possibly on one side of the street.
“If they did permit parking, they’d have to map out where permit parking is allowed and not allowed,” Police Chief Bill Tokajer said. “Each residence would be allowed a certain number of permits.”
Motzer said some cities issue permits according to the number of bedrooms.
“If you have a three bedroom rental, you’re supposed to have three parking spots,” Tokajer said. “If it’s residential, you have what your driveway allows, and you can park in the road wherever it’s permitted.
“If we do permits, we can say if you have three bedrooms and two cars in your driveway, we’ll give you one permit (to park in the right of way), not three.
Member Carol Soustek said in Indian Rocks Beach, residents with permits park in the street, allowing guests to park in the driveway. She felt they should pursue permits to “to relive the residents of this problem. It’s getting close to tourist season, and it is just overload.”
She suggested they research cities that have permit parking to see how they manage it.
Tokajer said they could implement a bar code system and noted, “You want it to be something that’s easily monitored.”
Motzer asked what police do if a visitor leaves town and doesn’t pay a parking fine, and Tokajer said the department can put a hold on their driver’s license and tag.
Beach parking concern
Tokajer continued to express concerns about the safety of beachgoers parking close to the road on the south side of Manatee Avenue leading to Manatee Public Beach.
“We looked at the possibility of angle parking there, but state law prohibits a municipality from implementing it on a state road,” he explained. “I looked at where the actual problems are, and the area where you get to the bank going east, it’s very narrow.”
He asked committee members to look at the area and give their input and said he would put no parking signs in the narrow area and see how it works.
Motzer sad he received six e-mails from residents and four were in favor of fees and permits. One person was concerned about vehicles blocking driveways, excessive noise, keeping children safe by keeping strangers out of neighborhoods and preserving the character of the residential districts.
“We’re trying to keep people from using the residential neighborhoods as their bathrooms and trash deposits,” Motzer aid.
Tokajer said people who see visitors leave trash or use their outdoor showers or hoses can call the police department and they will respond.
Motzer asked about the required parking spaces for beach renourishment, and Tokajer said he did not get the figures from the building official yet. Soustek said she got the numbers from a Commissioner Marvin Grossman, and there are 2,100 in the project area that includes all three cities.
Soustek said the document shows 281 at Manatee Public Beach, and Tokajer said one of his officers counted 400. He said there are 1,200 at Coquina Beach.
Motzer announced the committees meeting dates for September through November: Sept. 16 and 30, Oct. 7 and 21 and Nov. 4 and 18.
parking permit or business parking permit. Handicap parking would be exempt with a valid handicap placard.
• Timed parking on Bridge Street: Enforce timed parking restrictions on Bridge Street to promote a turnover of clientele and prevent day trippers from parking all day while on the beach. Bridge Street business owners who wish to park in front of their establishment all day could pay a small fee for a permit that would also be valid for free use of municipal lots.
• Employee parking at Coquina Bayside Park: Provide employee parking at the north end of Coquina Bayside using independent shuttle operators to transport workers to and from businesses.
• Land development code changes: Changes in the LDC would address outdoor dining and parking requirements to ensure the city does not add more seating without adequate parking provisions.
Robertson said she plans to discuss the feasibility of a priority lane on Cortez Road east of the Cortez bridge on Monday, Oct. 7, at 3 p.m. at the Scenic WAVES meeting at city hall.
“A call will go out to all residents, resort owners, commercial establishments, rental property agents, etc. who provide private parking on their premises and would be interested in having priority access to the Island,” she said.
“My focus will not be on trying to provide parking spaces to day trippers. My focus will be on providing priority access to those who live and do business here and their clients and guests.”
Day trippers should be directed to park at Coquina Beach and use the trolley system, she said, and if they choose to drive a vehicle on the Island, they would have to stay in traffic gridlock until the priority lane clears.
The cost is “remarkably low,” she said, requiring FDOT approval to have personnel on Cortez Road on weekends and holidays to direct traffic.
Robertson said that some of Gatehouse’s proposals were generated by studies done through the Scenic WAVES Partnership, adding that the city has not complied with the Waterfronts Florida and Scenic Highway mandate that all projects be presented to the Scenic WAVES board for approval.
She also said that she agrees that police should enforce the three-hour parking limit on Bridge Street.