Kure Beach To Hold August 9th Meeting On Parking Regulations

Kure Beach To Hold August 9th Meeting On Parking Regulations

Kure Beach To Hold August 9th Meeting On Parking Regulations Featured

By / Local News / Tuesday, 31 July 2018 15:15

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

KURE BEACH - The Kure Beach Town Council voted to amend regulations governing parking in public right-of-ways during their June 19th, meeting.

Since that decision the Town has started enforcing a long standing rule that only permits parking in designated spaces on public streets. Over the years many people have parked in front of their homes on public streets. Council expressed concerns that with growth increasing in New Hanover County due to new home construction, the Town needed to begin addressing issues including the ability for emergency vehicles to travel on streets when vehicles are parked on either side of the road.

The Council discussed the issue again at their July 17th, meeting and agreed to reach out to Homeowner's Associations and the general public for input on how to address concerns expressed by residents that the new rules hinder their ability to hold family gatherings or hire contractors to do work since they can't park in front residential homes.

The Council will hold a work session on August 9th at 7PM to discuss feedback they have received from citizens.

Under the new rules, vehicles can only park in a public right-of-way in a designated parking space.

Since that time the Town has issued warnings and written nine $25 tickets to residents and visitors and received complaints about the restrictions and limitations that now hinder residents ability to have visitors to their homes for parties or other gatherings.

During the Council's July 17th, meeting, the Council discussed marking designated spaces on various streets throughout Town.

The Council has held several discussions on the topic in recent months and held a public hearing on May 15th. The Council ultimately decided in May to research the proposed changes in more detail after hearing feedback from residents expressing concerns the new regulations would present various problems including eliminating parking in front of homes, parking during parties and presenting problems for contractors building new homes or servicing things like Heating and Air units.

On June 27th, Mayor Craig Bloszinsky explained, "Council has started an initiative on parking. Several factors are driving this action: recent issues of autos on street blocking emergency vehicles, county population growth bringing more visitors requiring changes to maintain our community atmosphere, and citizen complaints about random parking."

He explained, "Initially we  published changes and held a public meeting that many attended. Good insight was received to the original proposal and potential problems."

He explained, "The basics are set around the paved Right of Way (ROW) and the unpaved ROW throughout the  entire community. Paved ROW is the street and rules simply state that cars and golf carts can only park in marked spaces. The Police Department, at our direction, will ticket or tow vehicles that do not comply with this rule. If the neighborhood has no marked spaces, there is no street parking. This action ensures that all emergency vehicles have full access to all  properties for fire or health or safety issues."

He explained, "The unpaved ROW is the space from the paved street to the end of town ROW in FRONT of your home. Only residents and their guests may park in the unpaved ROW at your home. That means enforcement comes down to the homeowner. Call the Police Department if an unidentified vehicle is parked in front of your home and they will ticket the vehicle."

Bloszinsky said the Town wants to avoid expensive permitting processes so property owners will need to prove ownership  - or that they are a renter - in order for police take action. He explained, "These rules come into effect on July 1.  For the period through July 14, our Police Department will issue warnings and not tickets. After the 14th, tickets will be written."

Bloszinsky noted the Police Department is acting on direction from the Council and, "doing their job to keep parking managed and safe for the community."

He said the intent of the changes is to manage parking on main streets and protect communities from "random parking" in order to allow residents to continue to use space in front of their homes as necessary for family, guests or service providers such as heating and air companies, plumbers and contractors.

Bloszinsky explained, "This is not perfect and is a work in progress. Come the end of season, we as a community, can determine what works and what does not and adjust accordingly."

He explained, "The final piece of work that is before us is adding spaces to the paved ROW where it is practical, remark the Beach Access parking lots for better parking use, define other places to park for public beach access areas that have no parking lot. We welcome input on improvements and ideas for the next revision."

May 15th Public Hearing:
During the May 15th, public hearing Bloszinsky explained, "The proposed amendments clarify the language in the current code on ticketing and payment of fines. Prohibit the parking of vehicles in the right-of-way. Prohibit parking in the street unless it is clearly designated parking spaces. Prohibit parking on Town utility easements. Allow towing for any parking violation. Restrict parking of unattached non-passenger vehicles such as trailers. In residential districts, owners and lessors can park in the front yard setback that they own or lease."

Bloszinsky explained, "The reason we came up with this... is there has been a lot of feedback  on parking in the Town. Parking in the neighborhoods. Parking on 421 in the street. Parking around the beach. And it is incumbent on us to management parking because if we don't manage parking people will park where they wish to."
He explained the effort to clarify the language in the ordinance was led by Councilman Joseph Whitley and said, "This is first attempt to get control of parking for our Town. We may not have it all right. If we need to make adjustments that make sense we will go ahead and make those adjustments. This is for you, us to get control of our parking."

Several people expressed concerns about how enforcing no parking in the right-of-way will reduce parking options for people with limited available parking on their properties. Other people wrote letters to the Council.

Whitley read a letter to the Council from Mario Paparozzi stating they have lived in Kure Beach for about 15 years and, "Over the years we have watched a lack of regulation and enforcement of parking ordinances resulting in potentially serious public safety hazards and negative community aesthetics. These observations are of course increased during the summer months. However, they exist - albeit to a lesser extent year round - as a result other people or individuals who put their personal needs and desires above those of everyone else. We are hoping the Township's new interest in enforcement of parking regulations is not only for the summer season. We live on a narrow cul-de-sac and often have residents vehicles parked in the middle of the street blocking our mailbox and impeding safe egress from our driveway. While it's nice to think that community members can address these type of things informally, the reality is that informal discussions - even with the best of intentions - often result in arguments, given some animosity and the like. Therefore we feel it is essential for neutral bodies with enforcement authority to serve the community by pro actively and uniformly enforcing Township regulations and ordinances."

During the May 15th, public hearing, Whitley said he felt the Town should reform a committee to look at the proposed changes. He said the goal was to have the changes made by Memorial Day weekend, but that obviously wasn't going to happen. He said, "The goal was to get something in place for the season so we could address it in October or November to see how people responded and make changes for the upcoming year."

Councilman David Heglar said, "I agree .We can't rush it and make a big mess."

Heglar asked Police Chief Mike Bowden, "Do you have what you need right now if someone parks on pavement in Kure Beach to do something about it. Do you have something on ordinance right now that if they park blocking someones personal residence in the Town's right-of-way, but not on pavement, that you could do something about it?"

Chief Bowden said yes to both questions.

During the Council's July 17th, meeting, Mayor Craig Bloszinsky explained, "We had received a variety of letters that we did look at. We had an emergency meeting... we came up with a variety of actions that I would like to put before Council for us to discuss and potentially take action on. This action would be more or less findings which would then need to be reviewed by Public Works, by the Fire Department and by the Police Department to make sure we are not breaking any particular state laws or any of our own ordinances."

He explained, "The first item that came out of that meeting was the ability to have single lane parking on roads up to 26' feet in depth. The other lane would have to be  defined as a fire lane so that would mean one side of the street could have marked parking. The plan is to give that to the HOA's (Homeowners Associations) consider what streets would comply and if the HOA is willing to designate the side of the street and we will mark it."

Bloszinsky said he will communicate with HOA's for input on which streets in developments with width of 26' feet may have marked designated parking spaces on one side only with an end date for feedback of August 14th by 5 pm.

The Town will also look at marked spaces in the right-of-way at the Ocean Dunes development and  Planning and Zoning Commissioner Ken Richardson and Councilman Allen Oliver will start the process of identifying potential new parking spaces on Fort Fisher Blvd and in neighborhoods and have P&Z review the information before bringing a recommendation to Council.

The Council will also look at designating parking spaces on E, I and 6th Avenue medians. That will require review and approval by P&Z to make sure the Town is in compliance with ordinances before coming to Council with recommendations.

The Council also discussed researching the option of issuing "Residential Stickers" to residents to consider allowing parking for residents only and how the process would work.

Bloszinsky also proposed the idea of "Restrictive Spaces" to be marked as "no parking."

The Planning Commission will consider the items Council forwarded to them during their August 1st, meeting.

Meetings are held at 7pm at the Temporary Town Hall at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area.

For more info, call Town Hall at 910-458-8216.

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