By Mary Thurwachter
Council members in Lantana had a change of heart about installing parking meters in the town-owned parking lot on South Third Street off Lantana Road.
At the Jan. 26 town meeting, the council decided to look into leasing the lot instead of the original plan to install refurbished parking meters previously used at the beach.
In December, when the council voted to spend $29,440 to repave the lot, the decision to add meters was made.
Town Manager Deborah Manzo said it was part of a pattern the town had established to charge for parking after repaving lots that were serving businesses. Bicentennial Park has meters and Sportsman’s Park will soon.
But objections to the parking meter plan on Third Street have come up twice since then, both times by Stanley Gundlack, who owns the shopping center that houses Benny’s Seafood Restaurant next to the lot.
Gundlack said that if meters were installed he feared annoyed residents who have been using the lot to change oil in their cars would vandalize them.
“Lantana has been getting passed by, but now with what’s happening at A.G. Holley (the development), we’re getting recognized again,” he said. “I don’t want the parking lot to go.” (The town had once talked about possibly grassing over the little-used lot.)
Gundlack suggested the town look into renting the lot to restaurant owners on Ocean Avenue, where parking is at a premium, for employee parking.
“It could be leased to valets,” council member Phil Aridas said. ”It’s right across the tracks (from Ocean Avenue restaurants).”
“I like the idea of leasing it out,” Mayor Dave Stewart said. “But in the meantime, we should put up two-hour parking signs and enforce it.”
Paving is scheduled to begin early in February.
In other action, the town:
• Approved a shared parking agreement for Mario’s Ocean Avenue restaurant at 225 E. Ocean Ave.
• Chose to name the new park at 106-122 N. Lake Drive “Lyman Kayak Park.”
• Re-appointed Ilona Balfour and Mary Lacorazza to the Lantana Nature Preserve Commission with terms ending Jan. 31, 2017.
By Mary Thurwachter