Point Beach Parking Regulation Proposals On Hold, For Now
Council considering amending code dealing with overnight parking of commercial vehicles, eligibility and restrictions on parking decal program
Two measures that would impact parking regulations in Point Pleasant Beach will be subject to further discussion before the Borough Council votes to amend existing code.
The council elected to continue working on an ordinance amendment affecting the overnight parking of commercial vehicles at its regular meeting Tuesday night before presenting it to the full council for introduction.
Later, the council put off introducing an amendment that would alter the regulations governing the resident parking pass program after much discussion on its provisions.
Police Chief Kevin O'Hara has recommended tighter restrictions on the overnight parking of commercial or oversize vehicles on borough roadways, which he says is hurting the ability of residents and merchants to park.
"Right now the ordinance doesn't cover prohibiting, whether it be daytime or nighttime, the parking of commercial vehicles on roadways," O'Hara said.
"My suggestion was to amend the ordinance to include a prohibition of commercial vehicles 8,000 pounds or more... just to alleviate the issues that have been brought forward to council."
Existing code does prohibit vehicles heavier than 8,000 pounds from being parked on streets in a residential zone for more than an hour, while carving an exception for those vehicles needed by a contractor or vendor to complete services or deliver goods.
The chief noted that the proposal was made in response to issues on certain streets, although council members said they'd have to be careful with an amendment's reach if they alter the existing provisions.
Councilmen Stephen Reid and William Mayer noted that the council needs to be careful in applying restrictions on residents who happen to be contractors and park their work vehicles at their homes.
Mayor Vincent Barrella agreed, saying the ordinance amendment needs to "put in effect safeguards we need to make sure that residents of Point Pleasant Beach either are able to park somewhere else or will be able to continue to park because of their resident status."
Council voted unanimously (with members Tim Lurie and Kristine Tooker absent) to allow borough attorney Sean Gertner to work with O'Hara on the specific language of such an amendment, which Gertner said will be presented to council committee before the full governing body considers it.
The council also debated amending borough code to further restrict the use of parking decals in municipal lots while reducing their price.
However, after much debate on eligibility, the governing body decided not to introduce the amendment as planned and will instead hold a first reading at its next regular meeting.
Currently, it costs $30 for a decal that can be used instead of feeding parking meters, with a four-hour limit on spots, other than the railroad station lot. Existing code bans residents from parking on weekends in the Silver Lake lot, as well as both sides of Ocean Avenue, from Parkway to Trenton Avenue.
Crucially, the program is currently available only to residents who claim Point Pleasant Beach as their permanent address and live in the borough at least nine months a year. Additionally, the borough allows two passes per residential dwelling.
Under a draft ordinance available Tuesday night, decals would cost $10, with a two-hour limit on spots. The decals would not be able to be used at any time to park in the Silver Lake lot, the railroad station lot or the lot at the southeast corner of Ocean and New Jersey avenues.
Additionally, the draft expands eligibility to "residential taxpayers," defined as someone who owns a dwelling and resides in the borough on at least a seasonal basis. Only one decal would be issued per residential unit instead of two.
The latter provision provoked much discussion among council members, who debated whether decals should be limited to year-round residents, renters who live year-round, those who rent seasonally, "absentee landlords," etc.
Councilman Mayer said the solution is simple: one decal should be issued per residence, regardless of who's using it. "You pick one car and that's your car," he said.
Administrator Christine Riehl agreed. "Does it matter who's using it?" she asked.
Barrella, however, was concerned landlords could exploit such an amendment redefining eligibility, effectively creating a black market for parking decals.
"You're going to have landlords effectively trafficking," the mayor said.
Councilman Michael Corbally, who indicated his displeaure with the entire parking pass system due to "loss of revenue" from those not feeding meters, did however agree that a decal could be seen as a perk by a tenant.
Reid was in favor of voting on the amendment introduction Tuesday night. The mayor disagreed.
"If someone wants to introduce it in its current state, feel free. I don't know what its current state is," Barrella said in exasperation.
The council ultimately agreed to continue to work out the potential problems on residency and eligibility and hold off introducing the measure.