CAPE ELIZABETH — The Cape Elizabeth Town Council voted 6-1 in favor of modifying fees for small commercial vehicles entering Fort Williams Park in the next three seasons.

The types of vehicles included in this modification are trolleys, limos and vans, and mini-buses, said Jim Kerney, a member of the Fort Williams Park Committee, who was presenting the modified plan to the council on Nov. 13.

A trolley entering for a single visit in 2020 will cost $75, and it will be $5,000 per trolley for a season pass, said Kerney. A 20-seat or less vehicle would be $50 per visit, $3,500 for a season pass, and a 14-seat or less vehicle would be $25 per visit, $1,500 for a pass.

Kerney said that season pass stickers, which are as clear and visible on the vehicle as possible, were the best way of enforcing the fees, as there simply isn’t the manpower to collect revenue from each vehicle that drives through.

Councilor Christopher Straw, who voted against the modified plan, said that he was against season passes altogether, as they didn’t reflect a environmentally friendly plan.

“It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet,” he said. “It encourages anyone with a season pass, where they don’t have to pay on a per-trip basis, to make as many trips as they can justify on a financial basis. We passed a statement a couple months ago about how we wanted to be focused on being environmentally friendly and sustainable. This encourages someone with a season pass to run as many vehicles as they can. I’d rather see them pay on a per head basis.”

Straw suggested an honor system, where a driver would be in charge of presenting trip counts to the town, and there would be audits and warnings if the company was coming up short.

Council Chair James Garvin and Councilor Valerie Adams said that they were willing to keep Straw’s plan on the table for the future, but the council just isn’t ready to enforce fees any other way.

“[There] may be a way to transition to this on a manageable and purposeful path,” Garvin said. “Hopefully, we’ll arrive at a way to monitor and administer that.”

Councilor Jeremy Gabrielson said that there could be other options to manage vehicle flow besides the idea that Straw brought up.

“One of the pieces of feedback we’ve heard is that the fees will influence demand at some point,” he said. “I don’t know what the point it. I think if we want to manage trolley traffic and volume we should look at other options besides trying to price them out of the market.”

Straw also argued that the wording of the modification would mean that any type of taxi, Uber or Lyft vehicle, which falls under the 14-seat or less commercial vehicle category, would run a $25 fee per drive through the park.

Garvin, however, said that there needed to be clarification that vehicles providing transportation are not included in this modification. While trolleys or tour vans are basing revenue on Fort Williams itself, taxi cars and transportation services are not making money off of the park.

“I wouldn’t expect that if we ever did have a city bus going through, we’d be charging those buses as they came into the park either,” he said. “There’s a difference between charging for transportation and charging for experience.”

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