Moratorium placed on commercial parking passes

by Kelly Corbett and Sam Wilson
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Staff photo by Allison Potter 

Applicants to Town of Wrightsville Beach boards and committees spoke with the Board of Aldermen and several town staff members at a reception on Thursday, Jan. 23 in Town Hall. Andy Hall, second from left, and Ken Dull, center, were appointed to the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board. Marla Doster will serve on the Wrightsville Beach Marketing Advisory Committee.

The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen voted at its Monday, Jan. 27 parking workshop to place a moratorium on the sale of commercial parking passes, citing revenue losses from the increase in passes purchased by businesses.

The Jan. 27 workshop was a continuance of the Jan. 23 board meeting to discuss parking-related issues with Lanier Parking. Bryant Sykes, Lanier Parking manager, presented the board with some of the company’s challenges outlining areas that needed further clarification and direction.

In his presentation Sykes estimated a $127,000 loss in potential revenues as the price of commercial passes has remained static while meter and pay station rates have increased.

The commercial passes cost $290, with 113 passes sold in 2013.

The suggestion for the moratorium came from Mayor Bill Blair, who asked the Lanier representatives to return to the board with suggestions for a long-term solution.

“I think it would be interesting for you to come up with enough data,” Blair said. “I agree with [town manager Tim Owens] that we need to … follow up pretty quick.”

The board members discussed other options to make up lost revenues, specifically pointing to several instances where space was not being used, and the variation in size of spaces. They directed Sykes to have Owens, a planning department staffer and some Lanier employees survey the beach parking areas to look for specific changes that could be made to increase the parking real estate.

“In trying to capture revenue and not necessarily change what we’re doing on the beach, I’d like you guys to get with Tim and go up and down the beach,” Blair said. “Look at it from the perspective of, we don’t want to incur any safety issues, but we have a lot of spaces that need to be looked at.”

The board also voted to allow credit card purchases for residential passes and tax decals.

Parking season resumes on Saturday, March 1.

During the meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23, board members unanimously approved the North Carolina Department of Transportation entryway improvement plans, which will cost an estimated $70,000 to $90,000 for the project design, bidding and implementation.

The improvements, featuring new mulch, plants and shrubs, will cost the town no more than $3,000 annually, Owens said.

No one from the full room spoke during the public hearing.

The board also unanimously approved a resolution opposing proposed homeowners insurance rate increases. Alderwoman Lisa Weeks requested the item be pulled from the consent agenda, and asked the board to look into supporting documentaries about issues facing the town like the proposed homeowners insurance rate increases.

“Legislators are given reams and reams of paper and they’re not really putting a face with the story,” Weeks said. “I think that a short documentary might help with that.”

Aldermen also made appointments to five town advisory boards and committees following a meet and greet one hour earlier. The votes were written in silence with each member passing ballots to town clerk Sylvia Holleman.

Janice Clark, David Culp, Ken Dull and Andy Hall were appointed to the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board. Sue Bulluck, Allen Rippy, Marla Doster and John Andrews will serve on the Wrightsville Beach Marketing Advisory Committee.

Trish Green and Charlotte Murchison will serve on the Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. Catherine O’Quinn and Susan Collins were appointed on the Historic Landmark Commission. Stephen Capps will serve as an alternate on the Wrightsville Beach Board of Adjustment.

The board changed the date of the February meeting from Thursday, Feb. 13 to Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m.

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