Sunday, July 14, 2024

Kure Beach opts against increasing parking rates, passes on sale mid-February

Kure Beach parking passes open Feb. 12. (Port City Daily/File)

KURE BEACH — While its neighbor Carolina Beach voted last week to increase rates in some areas for the 2024 season, Kure Beach leaders are happy with the way the parking program played out last year in its 1-square-mile town.

READ MORE: CB upping parking rates to $6 an hour in lots, $7 in ‘premium lots’ to cover off-season break

The town council voted Tuesday night to keep parking rates the same — $5 an hour, $20 a day, $100 weekly — for the upcoming season. That also means parking passes will be the same rate: $20 for residents including those who live in CB (who can buy at most two and $100 for additional ones), $20 for property owners, and non-residential passes for $225.

Passes will go on sale Feb. 12, with the season beginning March 15.

Council discussed the possibility of increasing the paid season by two weeks; currently, it ends Sept. 30. Kure Beach has a little more than 600 spaces and predicted last year it would generate more than $740,000 during the season.

“Revenue was as expected,” Commissioner Dennis Panicalli informed the council. “We are not changing the number of parking spaces that we have in town, so the only way we can generate the revenue stream is to change the current regulation or current guidelines.”

However, most council members were on board with not amending changes this year and re-addressing it next season. The only difference would be decreasing free 30-minute spots to two instead of six.

“I went down there and there would be six spaces and hardly any of them were occupied,” Connie Mearkle said.

Council agreed on the decrease and said it will also improve signage in areas, particularly where parallel parking is allowed. But, overall, it decided to keep the prices and season timeline in tact.

“Carolina Beach continues to get beat up about parking and we don’t really,” Mayor Pro Tem David Heglar said. “I think we’re in the sweet spot.”

Carolina Beach, which uses Pivot Parking, increased its rates in some areas after voting last week to drop paid off-season parking. To make up for that lost revenue — amounting to around $25,000 — it decided to go from $5 to $6 an hour for parking lots, while daily costs remain $25. On-street parking will stay $5 per hour, though a daily rate will no longer be available, and it’s adding “premium lot” charges — meaning access to bathrooms and showers — at $7 an hour or $35 a day.

Wrightsville Beach is also considering increasing rates for premium lots, to affect nine areas on the island and roughly 514 spaces. The Town of WB will hold a special meeting Friday to address the changes.

“We don’t want to change the price structure now,” Panicalli said at Kure Beach’s meeting. “We can follow the other towns when they start raising their prices considerably and charge more then if we need to cover our expenses regenerate.”

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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