TREASURE ISLAND – Unable to get much direction from residents of Sunset Beach on the best way to tackle its growing traffic congestion and parking problems, the Treasure Island City Commission chose to do nothing Dec. 2.
The city was prepared to limit parking on Sunset Beach streets to residential permit-only when the city learned such a ban would be in violation of the county and state’s requirement that communities receiving beach renourishment funds provide specific numbers of free public parking within a set number of feet of the beach.
Once the resident-permit parking issue died, the city proposed setting up permit parking-only while setting aside 47 public parking spots within a quarter-mile of the Gulf of Mexico to meet the requirements for receiving the beach renourishment funds.
But the city couldn’t get specific feedback from residents on where to set aside the 47 public parking spaces.
Residents also balked at having one side of the Sunset Beach streets permit parking-only and also resisted a proposal to alternate sides of the streets for permit parking-only.
Mayor Mary Maloof noted she received e-mails from Sunset Beach residents claiming public parking in front of their property would damage the value of their residence.
Faced with residents unable to reach a parking plan consensus, the city enacted no additional parking plan on that beach neighborhood’s streets.
Instead, the city plans to be very proactive in enforcing parking in the neighborhood. including parking that could block a resident from exiting or entering their own driveway, which is partially what spurred the original proposal for permit parking-only.
The commission, however, explained if the increased parking enforcement does not improve the parking situation in Sunset Beach, the commission would revisit the issue and likely pursue a permit parking-only ordinance of some sort.
“In my opinion this is the way to start and then we can (critique) it,” Commissioner Bob Minning said.
“This may be the way to go,” Commissioner Alan Bildz added.
City Manager Reid Silverboard noted that when the spring arrives and the crowds grow on Sunset Beach, the increased enforcement will be a good test.
Police Chief Tim Casey suggested it would only take one or two cars to get towed that word would rapidly spread that parking on the streets of Sunset Beach may not be wise.
Resident Kim Driscoll liked this option.
“If the police are willing to ticket and tow, it might be worth trying,” Driscoll said. “Let’s try it.”
Casey noted that during spring break, he may assign one police officer whose lone duties during his shift would be to prowl Sunset Beach streets to enforce parking.
Silverboard said that the city would erect signs throughout Sunset Beach warning motorists not to block driveways.