ONLINE UPDATE: Parking rate to increase by 50 cents per hour

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wrightsville Beach parking rates are expected to increase by 50 cents per hour, generating an additional $448,000 in revenue.

But first the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen must hold a special meeting Tuesday, March 25 to approve the new ordinance.

Town attorney John Wessell said he could rewrite the ordinance during the weekend after recommending the board to wait until a new ordinance was ready to approve parking changes.

The daily rate will also increase to $15, and the weekly rate to $75.

Before the parking public hearing began Wednesday, March 19, board members said they would not consider extending parking enforcement hours, which will remain from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“That seemed to be the least popular,” Mayor pro tem Darryl Mills said.

Board members said additional revenue from the changes would be used to help fund future beach renourishment projects.

“Nobody up here wants to raise rates, but we’ve got to have the money to take care of this beach,” Mills said.

Alderwoman Lisa Weeks added, “If anyone has walked the beach lately, it’s in real bad shape.”

Ten residents and nonresidents spoke during the parking public hearing both in favor and against the changes.

The board is waiting until Tuesday to look deeper into commercial parking pass options.

The consideration was to raise the rate from $290 to $500 per pass and cap the number of passes per businesses.

In 2012, 32 commercial passes were sold. In 2013, 113 passes were sold with two businesses making up 50 percent of commercial passes. The town is looking into alternative parking options for those businesses before Tuesday’s meeting.

Separate from the new parking ordinance, town manager Tim Owens will look into adding 25-30 regular parking spaces and 11 new compact spaces throughout town, generating an estimated $60,000 in additional revenue for 40 spaces. Board members unanimously approved a $23,000 budget amendment to cover the cost of meters and the creation of spaces, which will also include funds to purchase signs for Harbor Island with accurate parking dates.

Earlier in the meeting, Jim Smith, who currently serves as co-president of the Wrightsville Beach Foundation and also on the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Cape Fear Transportation 2040 long-range plan, was named the 2014 Nancy Faye Craig Volunteer of the Year.

Full story will be printed on Thursday, March 27.

email kelly@luminanews.com

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