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Police parking lot may get public use
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TREASURE ISLAND – City commissioners moved forward on a resolution Jan. 21 that would allow residents of La Bella Vita condominiums and other city residents to use the police department parking lot during off hours.

La Bella Vita, located at 220 108th Ave., is immediately east of the police station parking lot and residents are asking for permission to use 20 spaces on the east side of the lot for additional parking. The condo has only seven additional spaces of its own and residents who host holiday parties say they need additional parking for guests.

The police parking lot has 51 spaces, which Police Chief Tim Casey said are necessary for his department to use Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Casey said residents of La Bella Vita and the neighboring Serena Bay condos could use the 20 spaces in question Monday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and Friday at 6 p.m. through Monday at 6 a.m.

Most of the time, the 20 spaces in question are not used on nights and weekends, La Bella Vita residents said.

City officials, however, say it’s not quite that simple.

“Please recognize that we’re not just looking at the east end of the police parking lot,” said Mayor Bob Minning. “We’re talking about this lot out here (city hall), Roselli Park and others.”

Commissioner Tim Ramsberger said anyone with a city parking permit should be allowed to use the lot.

“It would not be exclusive to your condominium or the one next door,” he said.

City Manager Reid Silverboard suggested La Bella Vita residents call his office a few days before a large party and get permission to use additional spaces. The city would in turn make arrangements for non-city guests to use the spaces.

“From a practical standpoint, every now and then I get a call from a resident of the (Isle of) Palms and they need a place to park an RV while they unload,” Silverboard said. “Perhaps if somebody is going to have a party and they need some extra spaces, they can call the city manager’s office and let us know they need a couple of extra spaces. That way, we’re not setting a policy.”

Discussion later moved back to the idea of a $40 city parking permit, which entitles city residents to park free at most of the city’s beach parking lots.

The downside to that policy, La Bella Vita residents noted, is the fact that residents are allowed only one parking permit per household. If someone hosts a party, they would need more than one city parking permit to use the police parking lot.

Commissioner Phil Collins said there was no way around making the lot available for all city residents.

“We’re all on the same page,” Collins said, “but we can’t just make it for Bella Vita. We have to make it available for all residents.”

Commissioner Carol Coward suggested implementing the public parking policy for the police lot on a 90-day trial basis, see how it works out and review the policy.

More discussion on the issue is expected at the Feb. 4 city commission meeting.

In other action, commissioners:

• Moved forward on a request by Sunset Vista Beachfront Suites, 12000 Gulf Blvd., for 12 city parking passes for employees to use in a metered parking lot in front of the hotel, adjacent to Gulf Boulevard. George Hoch, general manager of Sunset Vistas, agreed to pay the city $2,000 per year for the 12 passes.

• Agreed that the Vision Stewardship Committee should meet every 30 days, as opposed to every 90 days.
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