By Rich Pollack
For months Highland Beach commissioners have been trying to come up with rules for parking on the town’s side streets, only to discover roadblocks standing in the way of workable solutions.
The challenge is how to make it possible for guests of residents and for service providers such as plumbers and landscapers to park on the narrow streets without creating problems for residents.
There also is the question of what to do with cars parked by out-of-town residents heading to the beach through private-access points.
“You have to really think about parking here in Highland Beach because we don’t have a lot of room for extra parking on the side streets,” Town Manager Marshall Labadie said.
During a meeting last month, commissioners agreed that overnight street parking should continue to be prohibited, but they stalled when it came to deciding what to do about on-street daytime parking.
Ideas they kicked around included prohibiting street parking completely, issuing parking permits, and perhaps implementing a plan in which vehicles would be allowed only on the north side of the streets during certain days of the week and on the south side other days.
In the end, commissioners asked Labadie and Police Chief Craig Hartmann to go back and look at the issue and return with ideas on how best to address it.
“One of the things we have to determine is if there are some reasonable accommodations for service providers during the daytime hours when there is not a legal parking place available,” Labadie said.
Hartmann said he and his department hope to resolve one problem — beach parking by nonresidents on side streets — by limiting nearby beach access.
The chief said he is working with one condominium association that has private open access to the beach to ensure that the walkway is limited only to residents and their guests.
There is no public access to the beach in Highland Beach.
In its effort to solve the parking problem, the town sent a letter to residents on the side streets this summer asking for feedback on solutions outlined in a proposed parking ordinance.
Under those proposals, a commercial vehicle would be allowed to park on the paved portion of a street when the operator is engaged in deliveries, lawn maintenance or other related activities as long as the street wasn’t blocked.
Other provisions of the proposed ordinance would limit parking on non-paved portions of private property — essentially the grass — and prohibit all commercial vehicle parking from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Responses ranged from leaving the parking rules the way they are to prohibiting all on-street parking except for commercial vehicles for a short term.
The town leaders discussed and considered comments from residents, but because they were so wide ranging decided to seek more input from staff.
Commissioners hope to hear back from Labadie and Hartmann this month.
“The idea is to get some codes in place and then ask everyone to use common sense,” Commissioner Peggy Gossett-Seidman said.