Thursday, July 25, 2024

Wrightsville Beach grants itself ability to tow cars on Lumina, more parking changes afoot

Changes to the Town of Wrightsville Beach’s parking code were put into effect during the June meeting of the board of aldermen. (Port City Daily/File)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH –– The Town of Wrightsville Beach took measures last week to strengthen elements of its parking code and ramp up enforcement capabilities on certain spaces across the islands.

Towing will now be in play for unauthorized parking on Lumina Avenue, the town’s chief north-south roadway. 

Read More: Wrightsville Beach’s plan for Causeway Drive would remove parking, add bike lanes

Major portions of Lumina are already subject to restrictions, specifically, during the weekends and legal holidays of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. During those times, parking is prohibited on the east side of the road from Salisbury Street up to Mallard Street, and on the west side from Salisbury down to Stone Street.

Collectively this territory extends from beach access 10 to beach access 29, a nearly 1-mile strip of land. 

Previously parking in these spots during the black-out windows led to a penalty of $250. Now, according to the new ordinance, such infractions “shall result in the [$250] fine, the vehicle being towed or both.”

According to the board agenda, staff requested that no towing begin until June 12, two days after the board’s meeting Thursday, June 10.

Town manager Tim Owens told Port City Daily that the bags placed over parking meters in these areas have always borne the “tow-away zone” message. But until now, the power to make that move has not been expressed in the town code. 

“We never want to tow if we don’t have to,” said town manager Tim Owens. “But basically, what the direction is, is fine first, give it some time, and hopefully somebody gets off the beach and moves their car. And if they don’t, they’ll get towed.”

On Short Street, home to Motts Channel Seafood and a few marinas, the town will begin enforcing a “no parking” ordinance already on the books. 

“We put up signage so far, and basically, if you park on that street you’ll get a ticket,” Owens said. 

Further, the town began charging for parking underneath the Heide Trask Draw Bridge, a space owned by the N.C. Department of Transportation that historically has been free of parking meters. 

According to a report from WECT, a sign posted on a bridge piling — “Conducting business within NCDOT right of way is prohibited” — raises questions about the town’s authority to profit from parking fees in an area it doesn’t own. 

Read the full agenda of last week’s board of aldermen meeting: here

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