Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Carolina Beach could be getting rid of permanent, private parking lots

CAROLINA BEACH — Carolina Beach, along with its neighbor to the north Wrightsville Beach, make a significant amount of money from visitors paying for parking.

There’s so much money generated by parking, in fact, that the state legislature actually created a law specifically for the municipalities in New Hanover County allowing them to use funds from parking for whatever the town wants.

This is contrary to the rest of the state where the law requires parking funds to be spent on parking and traffic items only. However, that only applies to municipal run on-street parking, private companies are permitted to charge what they want and use the profits for whatever they want.

Now it appears the town is taking steps to make it more difficult to operate a permanent and private, commercial parking lot by removing language that allows them the town’s ordinances.

(Keep reading below)

“Staff was instructed by the Planning and Zoning Commission to review the text related to the allowance for permanent commercial parking lots and potentially provide a text amendment removing the allowance,” according to an upcoming Planning and Zoning Commission meeting agenda.

This amendment to the code of ordinances if approved, would not have an immediate or apparent significant impact on businesses since the majority of the parking lots in town are controlled by the town.

“The town currently leases four parking lots in addition to the lots the Town owns. They are located at 104 Hamlet (two lots), 1808 Canal, and 312 Canal. This summer two temporary commercial parking lots operated at 235 N. Carolina Beach Ave and 110 Harper. No permanent commercial parking lots have been created since the ordinance was updated in 2015,” according to the agenda.

The two temporary lots that operated over the summer were not town-run, and there were some issues over the summer with residents parking in them and being ticketed, despite having a residential parking passes. But since the town was not operating these lots, those residential passes were irrelevant.

It is worth pointing out that while this amendment does appear to monopolize paid parking for the town, there have been no applications for permanent parking lots since the ordinance was added in 2015.

Temporary parking lots would now have many of the same requirements as permanent parking lots

Temporary commercial parking lot requirements.

  1. Landscaping is not required.
  2. Trash receptacles shall be located on-site equivalent to the number of handicap spaces. Trash shall be emptied daily.
  3. Concrete or asphalt aprons shall be installed from the property line to the connecting street.
  4. Signage required. Towing signage shall be posted … A two-foot by two-foot signposted at all entrances and pay stations stating that town decals are not accepted.
  5. Additional allowed signage A-frame signage and off-premises directional signage in accordance with article VIII of this chapter.
  6. Timeframe allowed: 5:00 p.m. Friday week prior to Memorial Day –
    Sunday week after Labor Day

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