OLD ORCHARD BEACH — The downtown parking meter season will remain from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The Town Council, with Councilors Shawn O’Neil and Michael Tousignant absent, unanimously opposed a measure on Tuesday that would have extended the parking meter season, with meters operational in the downtown from the second Friday in May to the third Monday in September.

The Town Council had originally been scheduled to vote on the matter on March 7, but tabled the vote to give local business owners time to review the proposal and give input to the town.

Council Chairman Joseph Thornton said he had heard about an equal amount from people on both sides of the issue.

Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce Director Kim Verreault said the chamber respected that the town was trying to increase revenue, but the town should consider the impact the proposal would have on locals, tourists and commerce and take time to come up with a workable solution.

“I really feel it’s a bad idea,” said Eileen Payette, owner of The Landmark restaurant on East Grand Avenue. She said it’s difficult to sustain a business in the shoulder seasons of late spring and early fall, and this measure would make it more difficult. If the town wanted to increase revenue, it should instead could consider adding more pay parking spaces, she said.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” said Guy Fontaine, operations manager at The Ballpark. He said after Labor Day, the downtown is still packed with people and cars can stay all day without moving because there are no parking meters. Fontaine said he thought the proposal was an excellent way for the town to get more revenue.

Thornton said he thought expanding the season in the spring might be a detriment to business, but he didn’t think it would be in the fall, as the downtown is still busy after Labor Day if the weather is nice.

He said he thought the measure should be tabled again for more discussion, and voted on when all five members of the council were present. The downtown is extremely important to the town, he said, and he didn’t want to approve anything that would hurt businesses.

Councilor Kenneth Blow said he opposed tabling the vote as didn’t think there was enough support on the council to approve the measure.

The council voted the measure down Tuesday.

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]

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