Editorial: Ease Restrictions On Employee Parking In CB

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 24 April 2019 02:40

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

Employees working at businesses in the downtown Central Business District of Carolina Beach who do not live within Town limits should be allowed to purchase a parking pass at a reduced rate and  park in any available public parking space.
Currently, those employess can purchase a parking pass, but they can only park in a single lot located at 104 Charlotte Avenue regardless of the distance from their actual place of employment.
For example, if you work at a business within a block of that public parking lot (Commonly referred to as the Mack Lot) then it's an easy walk. If you work at a business near the Town Marina, it's a much longer walk, and late at night, it's very uncomfortable for employees to walk that distance.
Another important aspect is, even though this scenario is spelled out as law in a Town Ordinance, the property upon which the Mack Lot is  located was recently sold.
The Town has, for numerous years, leased that land as a public parking lot. Now that the land has been sold, and future development on that lot will occur, the Town should take steps now, rather than later, to address this issue.
The solution?
The Town Council should amend the Town's Parking Ordinance to allow non-resident employees of local businesses that do not have adequate on-site parking to park in any public parking space in a Town parking lot or on-street metered parking space.
Problem solved.
The ratio of employees to patrons served will pan out on it's own.
For employees of those businesses that live in Carolina Beach, they can already purchase a resident parking pass for $20 and park in metered and pay-lot spaces for free just like any other resident. 
Until the Town amends their zoning ordinance to require on-site parking for businesses within the Central Business District the lack of parking requirements encourages local businesses to rely upon public parking spaces for both their patrons and their employees.
That's not a scenario created by employees who work at these establishments yet they have the burden created by current parking regulations and the zoning ordinance that has historically allowed many businesses to operate without providing their own parking on-site. That's no fault of the business owners, it's been allowed by the Town for many decades.
The Town created this scenario many years ago, and continued to permit it over the years. Council should be more lenient in terms of permitting employees to park in public parking spaces.
While I was visiting Town Hall a couple of weeks ago an employee of a new restaurant located on Canal Drive at the Town's Marina came in to request an employee parking pass. They were told they could purchase a pass, and would have to park at the Mack Lot on the other side of the downtown district.
As if that wasn't a problem to begin with considering she would have to walk that distance after midnight when she gets off work, all employees at that business are required to have an escort when leaving work, especially when carrying out the nightly deposit. (For obvious reasons of security). Employees of local businesses play a vital role in our tourism based economy that helps off-set the cost of government services for all residents of Carolina Beach.
Council should cut them some slack on parking.

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