REDINGTON BEACH — Town officials’ desire to reach a consensus on how to administer its resident parking decal program raised more questions than answers during a special Town Hall meeting and caused the city to plan a second work session on the topic.

All the discussion centered on who would be eligible for a parking sticker for one of 17 spaces at Beach Park, a coveted Gulf-front spot to watch the sunset. The problem to be solved is a result of the Beach Park access lot being filled on some occasions, many with out-of-town vehicles.

During the March 30 work session, Mayor David Will said he wanted to keep the decal program simple.

“I would like to prioritize our beach parking lot for our residents,” Will said. “What the town can do a better job in is vetting who is a resident and who is a property owner. If you’re picking up a beach parking pass, the owner of that vehicle would need to physically come to Town Hall, show you are a resident and then get your sticker.”

He suggested the sticker needs to be a non-transferrable numbered sticker that will be assigned to the vehicle registration shown. They should not be laminated, allowed to be placed on the dashboard, or shared, the mayor said, and he suggested eliminating visitor passes altogether.

The “what-if” scenarios then began, as commissioners, the city attorney and the public all weighed in with ideas and questions on how multiple scenarios would be handled. 

City attorney Rob Eschenfelder raised the scenario of a property owned by an estate or a corporation. A resident asked if someone owned and rented out three properties but doesn’t live in Redington Beach, who is eligible for parking decals? Another asked about motorcycle parking — many motorcycles don’t have windshields, and some riders won’t want to put a resident sticker on an expensive bike.

“My feeling is Redington beach for Redington residents,” Commissioner Richard Cariello said. “I feel this is our home, and what I am seeing over the past years is our town is being inundated by people using our parking facilities. Once we establish who is a resident, then as a resident you have a right to park anywhere in Redington Beach, including the beach parking area.” 

Resident Bob Bunch said the town is “trying to overshoot an issue.”

“I’ve never been to the beach where I haven’t been able to park,” Bunch said. It’s never been an issue for me. Once you get into street parking, you’re opening a can of worms.”

Another resident, Linda Soileau, noted the eight-month residency mentioned in the town’s suggested ordinance doesn’t consider Canadians and other snowbirds who come to town for up to six months.

“So, they are not considered a resident, and can’t get a parking permit?” she asked.  “We have to be a little flexible.”

Soileau said contributing to the problem is the number of Airbnb and short-term rentals in the town.

Will responded: “This is what is driving us to tighten the system. And also, that’s where I go back to the visitor pass. I don’t want someone who owns a short-term rental to come in here and just get some visitors passes for guests.”

After slightly over an hour’s discussion, Mayor Will noted the town will have another work session, at a date to be announced to hammer out more issues, before any ordinance is voted on.