The issue of parking around Higgins Beach in Scarborough isn’t resolved after all.

Last month, after hours of public comment and deliberations spread over several meetings, the Town Council approved a set of rules with plans to re-evaluate them at the end of this year.

The package, which came together after numerous amendments and counter-amendments, apparently contained something to displease everyone involved, whether they were homeowners, beach visitors or town councilors.

Some were unhappy about making on-street parking legal in the high season; others bemoaned the loss of some on-street, off-season parking.

At the request of Councilor Carol Rancourt, the Town Council on Feb. 16 will revisit the issue of off-season, on-street parking on Bayview Avenue and side streets. Councilors who vote to approve a measure can ask for reconsideration at the next meeting.

“It was pretty confusing that night (of the vote),” Rancourt said Wednesday. “After all was said and done, I realized I think I got confused as well. I did not mean to vote to ban winter parking completely, as we did.”

Some of the rules govern parking on the ocean side of Bayview Avenue.

the intersection of Pearl Street, there is now a five-minute drop-off zone that is about 100 feet long. That is followed by about 10 spaces where parking is limited to one hour in the high season, with no limit in the off-season.

The high season is May 1 through Sept. 15. On-street parking is banned from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. year-round.

An earlier proposal to create about 13 spots with untimed parking between Morning and Vesper streets did not make it into the rules approved last month.

Rancourt said she wants more on-street, off-season parking, but she didn’t specify what sort of time limit, if any, she would want.

“I’m willing to listen to discussions. I’ve heard arguments both ways,” she said.

An advisory committee suggested time limits for on-street parking during the off-season as a way to increase turnover for desirable spots. That idea drew criticism from beach visitors, including many surfers, who saw the limits as an erosion of public access to the beach.

Unlimited off-season parking on Bayview Avenue between Morning and Vesper streets is the top priority for Janice Parente, a Scarborough resident who is chairwoman of Surfrider Maine.

She would also like to see untimed parking in the drop-off zone during the off-season and parking on side streets, which the Town Council prohibited last month.

“At this point, we’re willing to see what happens and evaluate in December,” she said.

Glennis Chabot, a Higgins Beach resident who served on the advisory committee, is concerned that a proposal will emerge that doesn’t encourage turnover on Bayview Avenue.

Without turnover, people who want to walk their dogs or play on the beach with their children for a while will be pushed into the town-owned lot at Pearl Street and Ocean Avenue.

“On really good surf days, the community — people from Scarborough — will not have a spot to park because it will all be taken up by long-term beach users,” she said.

Councilor Karen D’Andrea said she is delighted about revisiting Higgins Beach parking. She wants to see more parking available on Bayview Avenue and on side streets.

She said emergency parking bans could be imposed to address side streets that are too narrow because of growing snowbanks. 

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

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