9:30 a.m. Dec. 16: This story was corrected to indicate that the amended parking proposals would allow one-hour parking on a stretch of Bayview Avenue from April to October.

SCARBOROUGH — The Town Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to an amended proposal to regulate parking at Higgins Beach.

Council Chairwoman Judith Roy presented the amendments as a compromise after the initial recommendations — especially a 30-minute limit for off-season, on-street parking — sparked public protest.

Roy proposed a drop-off area of about 100 feet on the ocean side of Bayview Avenue at the intersection of Pearl Street.

The next section of Bayview Avenue would have about 10 spots where one-hour parking would be allowed from April to October. The last section, going up to Vesper Street, would have room for about 13 spaces where no time limit would be in effect, in the summer or the off-season.

“We don’t know if it’ll work until we try it,” she said.

The proposals passed by a vote of 5-2, with councilors Richard Sullivan and Michael Wood opposed. A public hearing will be held next month, and the proposals will go before the Town Council for a final decision.

Limiting on-street parking during the off-season is among a number of recommendations by the Higgins Beach Parking Advisory Committee. The winter on-street parking limit was the most contentious, even for the committee, which passed it by a vote of 4-3.

On-street parking around Higgins Beach is prohibited from April 1 to Oct. 1. Around other beaches in town, the prohibition is from May 1 to Sept. 15.

Supporters of restrictions say they would encourage turnover of street parking and encourage visitors to use a town-owned lot where restrooms and changing rooms may be built. They say some residents have complained about problems like loud music playing from visitors’ vehicles, and visitors changing clothes and urinating in public.

“Higgins Beach is a residential neighborhood. We depend on you to keep it that way,” Jack Kelley told councilors.

Opponents of the proposal see it as part of a continuing erosion of available beach parking. Some street parking along Bayview Avenue was lost when the sea wall was built, and they fear that some spots in the lot may be lost if the amenities are built. They say complaints are exaggerated and stepped-up enforcement should address any problems.

Douglas Lund-Yates, a Scarborough resident, presented another batch of petition signatures calling for additional off-season, on-street parking. He said a total of 897 signatures had been collected, 264 of them from Scarborough residents.

“They’re here for the hard winter and they enjoy using the beach,” he said.

On Wednesday, Town Manager Tom Hall presented a concept plan for the parking lot.

The lot would have room for 62 spaces, with the possibility of adding 19 to 22 more for public use if the town decides to develop another section of the property. Other elements include a paved internal access drive, sidewalks, fencing and underground work. The cost is estimated at $120,000.

Hall suggested that a timed, automated gate be used, rather than staffing the lot with an attendant.

Also presented was the concept for a facility of about 1,000 square feet, built in a cottage style, that would include restrooms, showers and changing areas. The estimated cost is $290,000.

Hall noted that the Town Council has already set aside $300,000 to develop the lot, and that would cover the initial scope of the concept.

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 Surfrider Foundation. 

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

[email protected]