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Treasure Island moves forward on Sunset Beach parking
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TREASURE ISLAND – Permit-only street parking on Sunset Beach took a step closer to becoming a reality during a Treasure Island City Commission workshop Aug. 19.

Residents of Sunset Beach have complained for months about congested parking, specifically on weekends, mostly due to overflow crowds congregating on the area’s beach and patrons frequenting nearby establishments.

Earlier this year a petition was handed to the commission demanding action take place to relieve the congestion. Residents complained about, among other things, being trapped in their residences from parked vehicles blocking their driveways, to the inability of emergency vehicles navigating the narrow roads due to parking, to trash being left in their yards, to public urination, to abusive and foul language.

In an effort to combat the growing issue, the commission directed City Manager Reid Silverboard to study ways to curb the issue, including permit-only parking on the Sunset Beach streets.

Silverboard announced a tentative plan to charge Sunset Beach residents a $15 permit tag annually. The initial revenue from the tags would go toward the cost of the tags and city purchase of permit-parking only street signs.

Replacement stickers would also be $15. A resident will be limited to one permit per vehicle owned, so long as the resident can provide proof of ownership. Florida tags will not be a requisite as a number of residents are part-time residents with their vehicles registered in other states.

The proposed permits would be required to be affixed onto residents’ vehicles by January 5, 2009. Those permits would need to be replaced by January 12, 2010.

Silverboard estimated the costs of signage, man hours to erect the signs and the permits to be $10,300. Commercial vehicles would not be allowed to park on the Sunset Beach streets. The city would also offer temporary permits to residents at no charge so their visitors would be able to use street parking.

Commissioner Alan Bildz suggested the city lower the fee to $7.50 if the Sunset Beach Civic Association would donate money to pay for signage. Silverboard stated that could work for the 2010 permits as the city would know the specific costs at that time.

Commissioner Phil Collins, who in previous meetings requested all residents of the city, not just Sunset Beach residents, should be allowed to park on the neighborhood’s streets, firmly implied that only funds generated from the sale of the permits should be used for the costs of implementing the code because “this will only benefit the people of Sunset Beach.”

Caddy’s on the Beach owner Tony Amico again spoke up against the proposed permit stating it would hurt his business. He also claims his business was targeted by recent swim zone/no wake proposed ordinances the commission has debated in recent weeks.

“Do you want Caddy’s in business?” Amico asked. “We have public streets and the public can’t park?

“Caddy’s was there long before the houses. I think you should take a hard look before you put this into practice. I feel sorry for the residents, but if you bought a house you should have had parking. I don’t think you should shut down my business and restrict public parking. Why are you treating businesses different? Why take away my rights and give it to them?

“I feel for the residents and I feel for my business too.”

Commissioner Bob Minning asked if a compromise could be arranged – possibly restrict public parking to one side of the street. This brought quick rebukes from Sunset Beach residents in the gallery.

Bildz replied that even parking on one side of the street would still create problems of vehicles blocking driveways.
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