SCARBOROUGH – New parking rules for Higgins Beach will go into effect today.

The Town Council on Wednesday approved a set of new regulations to govern parking around the popular seaside neighborhood.

How to regulate on-street parking along Bayview Avenue has been the most contentious issue as town officials have worked to balance the interests of residents and visitors. On-street parking had been prohibited from April 1 to Oct. 1.

Under the new rules, a 100-foot-long, five-minute drop-off area will be created on the ocean side of Bayview Avenue near Pearl Street. The next section, from the drop-off area to Morning Street, will have one-hour parking from May 1 to Sept. 15 and no time limit in the off-season. On-street parking will be prohibited from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The Town Council adopted the parking rules after debating a series of amendments over two hours. Councilors differed on issues such as time limits and whether certain proposed rules might constitute special treatment for the neighborhood.

“I will support this, though I’ve got to hold my nose a little bit,” Councilor Michael Wood said at one point in the discussion. “That’s OK. That’s life.”

The council also decided that parking would be prohibited on side streets and that councilors would revisit the new rules in December.

The parking proposals have inspired passionate debate since the original recommendations emerged from an ad hoc committee last year.

About 60 people attended the meeting Wednesday, and the tone was civil. One concern was possible safety issues that could accompany the introduction of summertime parking.

“People are going to parallel park in a hurry where children are walking,” resident David Cain said. “It kind of reminds me of the Maine Mall at Christmastime.”

Some councilors and residents said the parking rules should encourage use of a town-owned lot at Pearl Street and Ocean Avenue. Plans for developing the lot, including rates and hours, have not been finalized.

The Higgins Beach Parking Advisory Committee drew up the recommendations after hearing complaints from residents about bad behavior, including changing clothes in public and public urination.

 

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

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