REDINGTON SHORES — For years, Redington Shores residents have parked on the narrow streets east of Gulf Boulevard, usually without fear of getting a ticket.
There was something of an understanding between homeowners and local police responsible for keeping streets open for ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles: leave space for vehicles to get by and you won’t get a ticket.
“People have been parking on the street and the police have been overlooking it,” said city commissioner Jeffrey Neal. “A couple of people got a ticket; this was all brought on because three or four people had an issue.”
One decades-long resident said she had no idea she wasn’t allowed to park on the street.
“We have been homeowners and taxpayers for more than 30 years,” said Linda Beyrouti, who said she lives on 175th Terrace Drive East. “We have always been able to park on the street. To suddenly have your family, your caregivers, your baby sitter, your Thanksgiving dinner guests have nowhere to park when you had parking when you bought your house, I question this.”
The confusion may stem from contractors parking on the narrow back streets, said Neal, himself a construction contractor.
“There’s a lot of construction guys parking in the street, blocking the streets,” Neal told the Beach Beacon. “They are seen getting away with it, and other people think it’s OK to park there, which it is, but you have to be sensible about it.”
During the March 27 work session, Redington Shores Mayor MaryBeth Henderson and city commissioners sought solutions that might be acceptable to residents, local contractors, and others who rely on street parking.
Suggestions included allowing parking on just one side of residential streets or providing spaces at Redington Shores Town Hall, in parks and recreation lots, and business locations.
A third suggestion: Provide temporary street parking passes for contractors and visitors.
“The pass idea is not a bad idea,” Indian Rocks Police Cpl. Tim Kennedy told the residents and commissioners Wednesday evening. “But you do have to put some threshold on time limits so people don’t turn (the streets) into a parking lot. If you allow general parking, everybody will park and have more people over and have more people drive over their sprinklers and that creates problems.”
Whatever the city comes up with, Indian Rocks police — which provides policing for the town — is ready to enforce it, Kennedy said.
“We’ll do whatever you want us to do,” he said. “If you want us to write up everybody on the streets, then we’ll do it. If you want us to come and do something else, tell us and we’re more than happy to do it for you.”
Henderson suggested the commission “do a little more research” by asking nearby Gulf towns how they handle limited residential parking.
The commission will discuss the results at its April meeting, Henderson said.
“Any changes that we make we need to do it slowly,” Neal said.
Now hiring: Building official for Redington Shores
Henderson and city commissioners also began the steps toward permanently replacing Redington Shores building official Steve Andrews, who resigned March 1.
Andrews, who was on medical leave at the time, had offered to resign his post if the city paid him three months’ salary and medical insurance. In the end, he agreed to resign in return for two months’ salary and health benefits.
Andrews also promised in writing not to hold the city actionable.
The city had been awaiting the results of a state Department of Professional Responsibility and Licensing investigation after Andrews — in charge of inspecting buildings and construction projects in Redington Shores — allegedly allowed his employee, Joseph Walker, to sign off on construction work he was not qualified to inspect.
Since then, the city has outsourced the work and reduced the days it performs trade inspections to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, commissioners said.
“With what’s happened in the past couple of months, we haven’t discussed what we’re going to do about a permanent solution,” Neal told fellow commissioners Wednesday. “We need to go through a proper hiring process.”
Henderson told commissioners she would put together a report comparing the costs and benefits of hiring a full-time building official to what it would cost to outsource the inspections.
The commission will meet April 10 at 6 p.m. to discuss whether to hire fulltime inspectors, outsource the work to licensed inspectors, or combine the two models. The city does not have to decide anything for some months, Henderson said.