Carolina Beach leaders said Tuesday they're seeking creative solutions to add parking spaces in the town.
A cement parking deck near the boardwalk is not part of that solution, at least not right now.
Council members said they wanted to think outside the box and agreed that a community discussion is necessary before a final decision on adding parking spaces is made.
Two consulting/development firms submitted plans for a parking structure/mixed-use development on town-owned property off Carl Winner Avenue and Canal Drive.
Most would agree the town needs additional parking, but how many spots?
"That’s hard to pin down," Carolina Beach Mayor Joe Benson said. "Meantime, we may be able to harvest additional parking by applying redesign, such as the median strip on Harper Avenue. There are other places as well, and some of those spots need to be golf cart. Given that, do we really need a large mixed-use structure that sits empty more than half the year? One that would yield us an additional 150 spots?
"Not to mention a large cement structure may not conform to the central business district, one so unique and centered on our top-ranked boardwalk with all her unique features."
One proposal involves Harmony Hospitality, which recently completed the Embassy Suites Hotel at the Wilmington Convention Center.
The other proposal comes from Development Finance Initiative (DFI), which has partnered with governments across North Carolina to attract private investment for real estate development projects.
The proposal from Harmony Hospitality would cost the town $72,000. Of that, Becker Morgan Group, an architecture firm, would get $30,200.
The cost of the DFI proposal is $96,000. According to the proposal, the DFI fee does not include tasks or expenses associated with site planning expertise from architects, parking consultants, engineers or site preparation expenses.