Vol. 16 No. 14 - February 3, 2016
A good move
Congratulations to Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson for his recent veto of the city's permit parking plan ordinance. The proposal was passed last week in a 3-2 vote of the city commission, an action Johnson said in advance that he would veto.
True to his word, Johnson halted this ill-advised proposal dead in its tracks, before it could ever be implemented, the first such veto action by a mayor in as many years as anyone can remember.
The move will not win him much support among the few residents pushing the permit parking idea.
But it was one that needed to be made.
The plan was supposed to provide relief to residents who claimed their streets and yards were being overrun with cars parked by people going to the beaches. The masses of visitors parking in the rights of way have left trash, blocked driveways, obstructed streets and basically made life miserable for homeowners who happen to live in those areas, according to supporters of the parking plan.
The question here, though, is how often has this situation occurred? The answer, according to the mayor and city law enforcement, is very infrequently. And certainly not often enough to impose restrictions allowing only residents to park in the areas designated by the parking ordinance.
That is an over-reaction and sends the wrong message out to the rest of the Island and the rest of the county. The notion that "strangers" should not be allowed to park on streets close to the beach is just onerous. Even residents who live in the affected areas are opposed to this plan and have written the city, asking to opt out of the ordinance.
Enforcement of existing parking regulations seems a far more workable solution. If driveways or streets are being blocked by beachgoers' cars then those cars should be ticketed and towed. Increased code enforcement, such as is being done in Anna Maria, perhaps can address problems of trashed lawns and other code violations.
The beaches belong to, and are paid for by, all of us. Restricting access to them to only those who live here is not the answer.
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