BIDDEFORD — Beach-goers will see new rules for parking this summer in Biddeford, and the fee is set to double.

Biddeford City Council members last week approved a change at the city-owned Middle Beach Lot that restricts parking to only those vehicles with a resident sticker until noon. After that time, those with non-resident parking permits will be allowed to park in any remaining spots.

In conjunction with this change, the council also approved doubling the cost of resident parking stickers to $20 each.

Restricting parking to residents only until noon at the Middle Beach lot was requested by the public, said Recreation Department Director Carl Walsh. This restriction mirrors a similar parking policy at the Biddeford Pool Bathhouse Parking Lot, he said.

According to Walsh, lack of parking in the Middle Beach area is a relatively recent problem.

Resident Sheila Neault, who frequents that area of the beach, said there are only 16 spots in that lot. The intent is not to keep non-residents away from the beaches, she said, but “if it’s residents only until noon, that gives us a better shot of getting parking.”

Without this restriction, said resident Jeff Tourigny, “it’s almost impossible for those of us frequenting the beach for 30 years” to find parking.

Because non-residents are prioritized at two of the city-owned beach lots, the council also voted to increase the price of resident beach parking permits, from $10 to $20.

Walsh said the new parking restriction “increased the value of the resident sticker and decreased the value of the non-resident sticker.”

He said his department looks for ways to attach fees to pay for programs, and parking permits are a revenue stream to pay for parking attendants and lifeguards at the beaches.

Prior to recommending changes to the parking permit fees, Walsh said he checked with other nearby municipalities to make sure Biddeford’s fees were in line with those of its neighbors.

Several residents told the council they didn’t think the fees for resident parking permits should be raised.

“Keep the resident fee flat,” said Richard Rhames.

“Residents shouldn’t have to pay to go to the beach,” said former Mayor Joanne Twomey.

Paul Therrien asked the council to consider a discounted parking rate for residents who purchased permits for more than one vehicle.

An amendment by Councilor Roger Hurtubise to raise the resident parking sticker by only $5 instead of $10 failed.

In order to enforce the new parking restrictions, Walsh said he will look at ways he can shift existing staff to cover the public lots.

The orders to restrict parking until noon at the Middle Beach Lot and increase the resident parking permit to $20 both passed unanimously.

— Staff Writer Dina Mendros can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 324 or [email protected]

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