CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Carolina Beach town council is considering increasing parking fees in town managed parking lots double the hourly rate, to match private lots.
“We’ve seen a 5,6 maybe 7 lots private lots being held by third party vendors and it gets very confusing sometimes for the public because we have parking passes to park for free but you can’t do that in other lots, and they charge one rate and they give tickets and tow and we don’t. We’re trying to get some consistency,” says councilman Steve Shuttleworth.
The current rate is $2.50/hr and $17/day. The proposal would increase rates to $5/hr and $20/day.
The town manages 19 lots, and proposed keeping Weeks lot, Harbor Master lot, 1708 Canal Drive, and the lot in front of Hang 10 Grill at the current price point.
"I don’t want to pay that much per hour and if I can’t justify parking at the beach, then I’d rather just Uber at that point cause it would be cheaper and you wont have to deal with parking in general or fighting for a parking spot,” says Carolina Beach visitor Kaeli Beaver.
Business owners fear the potential double rate increase, will decrease their customers.
“It’s going to hurt our business because people aren’t really going to want to park and come down here, not as much as last year in the summer," says William Bickel, the General Manager of Gulfstream Restaurant. "Last summer was actually the busiest summer we ever had. Servers are going to lose money, we’re all going to lose money and also where is anyone going to park there’s really no where else.”
There’s also talks of adding golf cart parking to the town to open up more spaces for cars in the lots.
“A lot of our residents and visitors have golf carts and rather than having a golf cart take up an additional parking space, or even try and take two in a parking spaces, we have some areas in town we feel we can increase golf cart parking,” says Shuttleworth.
Shuttlesworth says some of the spaces considered for golf parking would be across from Spartanburg Ave. and between Hamlet Ave. and Fayetteville Ave.
A longer parking season was also discussed.
The season currently stretches from April to October and the proposed season for 2020 is April through November. The 2021 season could be changed to March though November.
Council will meet March 10 to vote on the proposals.