New Point Beach Parking Plan Likely to Be Adopted March 5
Revised plan includes part of District 3, but plan in effect only from 12:30 to 4 a.m. this summer
A parking plan to include part of Point Beach's District 3 is likely to be adopted by a narrow majority of Point Beach Council members on March 5.
On Tuesday night, Council members Stephen Reid and Andy Cortes voted against the proposed plan, Council member William Mayer abstained and Council members Kristine Tooker, Bret Gordon and Michael Corbally voted for it, giving it barely enough support to move towards second reading and adoption next month.
The proposed parking plan would be in effect in most of District 4 and part of District 3 for those who are not residents or property owners from May 15 through Sept. 15. There will be a maximum fine of $250 for violations, according to the ordinance posted on the municipal website.
The parking plan differs in a few ways from the plan that was in effect during overnight hours in District 4 last summer, which sparked several lawsuits, most of which are still pending.
The new ordinance, if ultimately adopted, would be in effect from 12:30 to 4 a.m., compared to last year's which was in effect from midnight to 6 a.m.
Mayer asked for the restriction to end at 4 a.m. to benefit surf fishermen. Corbally agreed and that was ultimately part of the measure that was passed.
Also, Channel Drive is no longer included in the area covered by the plan and part of District 3 will be included.
Ocean County-owned roads, such as Baltimore and Chicago, still are not included in the parking plan because the county will not allow any parking restrictions on county roads in Point Beach, despite allowing much more onerous, 24-hour restrictions on county-owned roads in Seaside Heights.
Similar to last summer, there will be free parking in the Silver Lake parking lot from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The proposed ordinance describes the area to be restricted by the parking plan as:
"District Four Area shall be defined as that area of the Borough bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by the New Jersey Transit Railroad Tracks, on the north by the South side of Broadway and on the South by the north side of Arnold Avenue, with the exception that no portion of either Broadway or Arnold Avenue shall be subject to this Ordinance.
"District Three Area shall be defined as that area of the Borough bordered on the North by the South side of Arnold Avenue, on the west by the West side of St. Louis Avenue on the South by the South side of Forman Avenue and on the East by the West side of Ocean Avenue, with the exception that no portion of Arnold Avenue shall be subject to this Ordinance.
"Covered Area shall be defined as that area of the Borough defined above as the District Four Area and the District Three Area." (See attached PDF for map.)
Reid said he could have supported a plan that did not expand into District 3.
"I don't see anyone here asking for this," Reid said.
"There's also no one here saying they don't want it," Gordon countered.
Tooker said she believes that as media reports are published and news spreads of the proposed plan, residents will learn more about it and voice their opinions.
Cortes said he also could have supported a plan similar to the one established last summer.
"If it's the same, it will be easier for people to remember," he said.
Mayer said he was abstaining because he did not understand why it was being extended out into District 3 as far as it is and he had seen and/or received multiple versions of the ordinance and the accompanying map and still wasn't sure if he had the right versions of both.
He also asked his colleagues, "Does this ordinance help in the recovery of Sandy?"
Gordon said, "There are areas that have been severely impacted by Sandy and there is a concern about people going to uninhabited properties, so, yes, I think this does help."
The idea behind the parking plan is to help keep bar patrons off residential streets where for a few years, until last summer, they often were loud, disruptive as well as dumping trash and urinating on residents' lawns, according to many reports from residents and police.
Reid said he heard from many residents in District 4 who did not like the parking plan.
"We must be talking to different people," Tooker said, "because I haven't heard from anyone in District 4 who didn't love the parking plan. I also heard from a few residents in District 3 on Laurel and Trenton who want it on their streets."
Corbally said, "It's mind-boggling we're debating this. The quality of life improved."
The new ordinance also states: "....as a result of the prior parking regulations, the Borough Council received far fewer complaints of unruly and disorderly behavior from residents in the affected distrcit during the periods governed by those regulations."
A separate ordinance regarding parking meters and pay machines was passed unanimously on first reading and is scheduled for second reading and adoption on Feb. 19. To see that ordinance on the municipal website, click here.
Editor's Note: Regarding the proposed parking plan for this summer, the ordinance on the municipal website, based on an earlier version that had been considered, says, in one sentence, that the restrictions will be in place until 5 a.m. However, that was changed at the meeting to 4 a.m., which will be the time restrictions end, as Patch has confirmed with the municipal clerk.