The Scarborough Town Council revisits the contentious issue of parking around Higgins Beach on Wednesday.

Up for consideration is a package of proposals that includes a limit on on-street parking during the off-season. The proposal to impose a 30-minute limit on Bayview Avenue has generated the most heat in the parking debate.

Critics of the proposal have been boosting their effort in recent weeks. They are collecting petition signatures and going door-to-door to urge residents to contact councilors, write editorials and spread the word to others. They also have a Google site called Save Higgins Parking and a Save Higgins Facebook page.

“This is going to get bigger and bigger and bigger as the word gets out,” said Douglas Lund-Yates, a town resident who collected and turned in 500 petition signatures earlier this month.

The proposals were generated by the Higgins Beach Advisory Committee. The Town Council discussed them earlier this month but put off any decision as the meeting ran late. The deliberations continue Wednesday, and a preliminary vote may take place.

Town Council Chairwoman Judith Roy hopes for an on-street parking compromise the town can at least try for a season.

“I’d like to see a healthy compromise that looks at the quality of life for both the resident and the visitor. Whether we can do that is to be seen,” she said.

On-street parking is prohibited from April 1 to Oct. 1 around the beach. Under the proposal, the ban would be in effect year-round, with the exception of 30-minute parking on the ocean side of Bayview Avenue between Pearl and Ashton streets during the off-season.

The committee made its recommendations after hearing complaints ranging from cars playing loud music to visitors changing clothes outdoors to public urination to lack of turnover in street parking. Residents presented a petition with the names of 253 residents who support a year-round prohibition on on-street parking.

Opponents, many of whom are surfers, argue that the complaints are exaggerated and reflect the desires of a small number of property owners.

“This is a small group of people that pay a large amount of property tax because their property values are higher. And they’re trying to dictate what goes on at a public resource,” said Ben Keller, a town resident.

Rodney Laughton, who served on the advisory committee, said there was never any intention to limit beach access. Two other committees studied area parking in 1980 and 1998 and each recommended that there be no on-street parking. Laughton said his committee’s recommendation was an improvement.

“I would say to anybody in any neighborhood anywhere, ‘If you had 5,000 people coming through, you’d want some semblance of order,’” said Laughton, a lifelong beach resident who owns the Breakers Inn.

Opponents note that some parking along Bayview Avenue was already lost with the construction of the seawall. They also worry that the parking lot the town purchased earlier this year will have fewer spots if it builds amenities like restrooms and changing rooms on the site.

Some say on-street parking at Higgins Beach should be expanded to mirror the situation at other Scarborough beaches, where the prohibition is from May 1 to Sept. 15.

Town Manager Tom Hall is expected to provide councilors with an update on the parking lot Wednesday.

The town bought the lot with $632,145 from the Land for Maine’s Future program, a matching amount from a town bond and $7,270 from the Trust for Public Land and the Surf- rider Foundation.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

[email protected]