2017-11-10 / Front Page

Beach parking fees may be raised

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

How much visitors will be charged to use Scarborough’s beaches and waterfront may be changing for next summer.

Ordinance committee members spent time at the Nov. 2 meeting discussing the town’s fee structure to visit the beach and use the town-owned pier and has passed on a proposal to the council that increases fees for both.

The proposal calls for the day parking rate for Scarborough’s three beaches to be increased from $10 to $15 to park in the lot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The committee has proposed introducing a $5 fee to park in the lot between 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. to be in line with the fee charged between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The committee is also proposing a number of fee increases for those who don’t live in town, including the non-resident season parking pass from $75 to $100, the non-resident season boat launch pass from $50 to $75, the non-resident pier use fee from $50 to $75 and the non-resident commercial pier use from $100 to $300. Non-resident mooring fee could also be increased by $100 and the non-resident commercial mooring fee increased by $200.

“There is no change for residents. It’s a change for non-residents to keep it in line with other communities,” Community Services Director Todd Souza said at the Nov. 2 ordinance committee meeting.

Scarborough’s current $10 per day beach parking fee, which has stood at that rate for years, is the lowest for area beaches. Wells charges $20, while Kennebunk and Kennebunkport charges non-residents $25 and $15 respectively to park at their beaches. Parking at Old Orchard Beach is done through private lots and the daily fees change depending on the day of the week.

“They have the flexibility to change the rates,” Souza said of the private lot operators.

Scarborough’s $75 seasonal parking pass for non-residents is also cheaper compared to Saco ($100), Old Orchard Beach ($150), Kennebunk ($200) and Kennebunkport ($100). In 2017, Scarborough collected $96,600 in beach pass fees, including $32,550 from non-residents and $64,055 from residents. Boat launch passes brought in far less revenue, with Scarborough collecting $2,105 from residents and $4,550 from non-residents.

Although she was concerned with upping the non-resident season parking pass and daily parking fee, Kate St. Clair joined her fellow committee members in sending the proposals along to the full council.

The daily parking fee may be nullified if Scarborough decides to implement hourly parking at beach parking lot, another topic on the table

“Personally I am not in favor of hourly parking based on what I am seeing in other places, but we need more time to analyze it,” Souza told committee members.

Souza and the Community Services Department is also analyzing the potential of putting a gate-system at the Higgins Beach parking lot. Money from the beach reserve account has been set aside for the purchase and different systems are being researched. Souza said ideally a system would be chosen that is flexible enough to work at other town beaches.

“Whatever the option, it doesn’t mean staff wouldn’t be needed,” Souza said, adding staff would still be needed to maintain the parking lot and facilities.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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