Carolina Beach finds new parking management company, considers additional changes

While the town charges $20 a day to park, these private lots are charging around $45
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 2:31 PM EDT
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CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Carolina Beach Town Council has found a new parking company after council members voted to get rid of their previous parking contractor earlier this year. A new contractor is just the start of possible changes the town will be forced to make as competition for land increases every year.

Pivot Parking will be the town’s new parking company which is the same company neighboring Wrightsville Beach uses.

Carolina Beach’s parking program makes the town millions of dollars each year, second only to property taxes, but over the years the town has lost leases with private landowners who have opted to go with private parking companies to run their parking lots.

“Our beach town is a very complicated parking system,” Mayor LeAnn Pierce said. “We have Freeman Park that is generating revenue, we have town lots, we have private lots, we have right-of-way parking, we have metered parking, so it was a very complex situation that really needs to move us forward to a better customer experience for Carolina Beach.”

The town isn’t the only one to realize just how lucrative paid parking programs can be. Several parking lots around the town are now operated by a private parking company but town leaders discussed the idea of possibly regaining control of some of those lots, but for now, they are just ideas.

One reason the town has lost parking lots to private companies is due to the profit-sharing opportunities that private parking companies offer. While the town charges $20 a day to park, these private lots are charging around $45. Pierce offered her thoughts on whether the town should match those high prices.

“I wouldn’t say match it but I would say we do need to regulate it so that we are all charging the same thing, on the same timeframe, the same way, so that it is not as confusing for people trying to park. They were very confused when they got a ticket, whether it came from the town or the private lot, so that is part of the confusion we need to mitigate,” she said.

Other changes the town is discussing include improvements to the access at Freeman Park through the use of license plate readers and swing arms, as well as possible pay-by-mail options but all of these decisions will be made by the town council at upcoming meetings. They will have to make a decision on the contract with Pivot soon since early-bird Freeman Park passes go on sale in December.

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