Editorial: Hold Public Hearing On Parking Enforcement; ID Cards

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 26 October 2016 04:00

Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council discussed some major changes to Town's parking enforcement program, emergency identification cards and parking decals during their October 25th, workshop meeting. You can read about those changes in the report on page 1-A of this week's edition. The problem is, they are scheduled to make a final decision on the proposed changes at their November 1st, meeting.
That's not enough time for citizens and business owners to become informed about those changes and have an opportunity to weigh in by offering Council feedback prior to a vote.
Even worse, Town Manager Michael Cramer said Tuesday that no public hearing is required.
He explained, "A public hearing is not required by law to change a local ordinance or the rate and fee schedule.  Council can always allow public comment on a topic if they choose."
These issues are important to people because the focus is on access to the Island following evacuation due to a hurricane, parking rates, hours for parking enforcement and other related issues.
Over the years, when previous administrations were presented with proposals to change parking enforcement regulations, citizens, business owners and employees showed up in great numbers to offer their input before Council made a final decision.
In this case, the changes are substantial enough that Council should delay any final decision until they can hear input from the people the changes will impact which includes citizens, business owners and their employees.
For example, the regulation that prohibits parking for more than 2-hours per block, per day has been tried in the past and generated a lot of negative feedback from the public after getting ticketed. In the report on page 1-A, the Town Manager described the issue but misses a few important basic realities. He says it's required to stop employees at local businesses from abusing the time limited parking by simply moving their vehicle every two hours on the same street. He claims parking attendants will focus on those situations, but not everyone in general. That assumes parking attendants will investigate every situation equally. Also, if parking lots are full, where else can employees expect to park during the busy summer months when parking spots are in extreme short supply? There are other questions and Council should hear from the public before making a final decision.


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