2018-02-15 / Front Page

OOB: No free parking at town hall

By Grant McPherson Staff Writer

OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Town hall parking will come at a cost this summer as officials look to capitalize on the public space available.

Police Chief Dana Kelley proposed the change as a way to raise revenue for the town. The council voted last year to designate town hall parking for permit holders only after 4 p.m. Prior to this he said people parked there for free. However, he said the town hall lot was mostly empty this summer, hence the decision to leave the lot open to people with a permit and those who would like to park there on an hourly basis. The rate at town hall will be $2 an hour, the same as other pay stations throughout Old Orchard Beach. There are eight spaces in the upper parking lot of the town hall and 36 in the lower. Town hall hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except Tuesdays when it is open until 6 p.m.

Councilors voted unanimously to approve the change on Tuesday, Feb. 6. No members of the public were present for comment. Councilors will discuss the logistics of where exactly the pay station will be located at the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 6.

Kelley said the pay stations cost between $11,000 and $12,000 each. One will be placed in the lower lot and the council still needs to decide if it wants to keep the upper lot for permit parking only or allow hourly parking.

Kelley said that $394,000 was generated in meter parking throughout the town, $29,000 from parking permits and $157,000 from parking tickets, all of which goes to the town’s general fund.

“The overall objective was to raise a little bit of revenue, not about creating an inconvenience for anybody,” Kelley said. “Having a permit is a good option that provides a place to park where no one else can. Making that upper lot permits only means there wouldn’t be any paid parking up there for anybody who doesn’t have a permit to make it easier for people who buy permits.”

The police department will hire between 10 and 12 people for the summer starting Memorial Day and ending Labor Day to check pay stations throughout town and write tickets. Paid parking is in effect from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the year and Kelley said that most parking complaints are from people, often from Portland, who assume that parking is free after 5 p.m.

Residential parking permits are $75, nonresidential permits are $150 and overnight nonresidential permits are $300. All permits are valid from Memorial Day through Labor Day and nonresidential permits are restricted to the Milliken Street parking lot.

Town Clerk Kim McLaughlin said permits arrived from the printer Friday, Feb. 9 and should be available for purchase within the next week.

Contact Staff Writer Grant McPherson at news@inthecourier.com

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