BRADENTON BEACH – After-hours and weekend parking will soon be allowed in the post office parking lot.
The general parking allowance will not take effect until signs are posted that state the hours of operation for general public parking. City Attorney Ricinda Perry said this could take up to two weeks.
The parking agreement also allows the CRA and the city to use the parking lot for special events and markets.
With the support of the Bradenton Beach City Commission, the Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is entering into a joint parking lot use agreement with the United States Postal Service (USPS). The Miami Beach-based Fryd Family Partnership owns the post office property at 116 Bridge Street.
According to Perry, Postmaster Clyde Chapelle agreed to the proposed terms on Sept. 26.
On Wednesday, Oct. 2, the CRA members approved the agreement long pursued by Mayor John Chappie and brokered by Perry. The city commission approved the agreement the following evening.
The agreement includes conditions that protect the Postal Service’s parking rights during regular business operations, during the high-volume holiday season and if the employee parking lot behind the post office building becomes flooded or unusable.
The agreement states the CRA and the city shall continuously and without interruption grant the Postal Service the exclusive use of a minimum of three parking spaces at all times. Those three spaces will be segregated from the general public parking by signage or visual enhancements.
“The USPS reserves the right to tow, at the owner’s expense, non-USPS vehicles that are parking in the USPS guaranteed spaces,” the agreement states.
Beyond the three guaranteed spaces, the agreement is expected to curb the recent practice of towing vehicles parked at the post office after hours and on weekends. During last week’s CRA meeting, Vice Mayor Jake Spooner mentioned the towing.
“Do folks need to wait until the signs go up to start parking in there? People ask me all the time, ‘What’s going on with the post office? Are they still towing over there?’ ” Spooner said.
Perry said folks need to wait until the signs are installed before using the post office for general parking purposes.
On Saturday, Oct. 5, Facebook user Lori Jergenson-Mikeska posted a photo of a car being towed from the post office parking lot that afternoon.
Time frames and terms
The parking agreement does not create additional general public parking during regular post office hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
General public parking will be allowed Monday through Friday from 4:45 p.m. until 8 a.m., and all day on Saturday and Sunday, except for the three reserved spaces.
The parking agreement includes a 90-day trial period that can be terminated by either party with five days’ written notice.
“The intended purpose of the parking lot agreement is to provide parking for active patrons of Bridge Street and the CRA district street, and to provide a safe alternative to driving under the influence when needed,” Perry said later in the week.
“This parking allowance is not intended for employee parking and if during the trial period it’s determined the parking lot has become an overnight parking area for vacation rental and hotel guests the agreement may be terminated,” Perry said.
The agreement requires the CRA to repair and maintain the parking lot and the CRA is responsible for any damages.
The CRA must also provide additional CRA-funded policing for the post office property. During last week’s CRA meeting, Perry said the additional policing was Chapelle’s main concern.
“If the parking lot is not properly policed and maintained by the city and the CRA, the Postal Service can terminate the agreement,” Perry said later in the week.
“The 90-day trial period will give the city, the CRA and the Postal Service time to evaluate and address any complications and challenges that may arise from creating this much-needed parking facility in Bradenton Beach,” Perry said.
The parking agreement is scheduled to terminate on Dec. 31, 2030 and is contingent on the Postal Service maintaining the lease for that property. The agreement provides for three five-year renewals.