North-end residents have emailed town commissioners about people parking on Broadway.
Parking in the streets of the Longbeach Village neighborhood has been a point of contention for years. The recent closures of beaches nearby has only made it worse, residents say.
Crowded public street parking the last few weekends on the north end of the island has prompted several residents to email town commissioners and staff.
Kimberly Ross — who has lived in the Village since 1987 — was one of the residents who wrote to commissioners.
“We, as neighbors, are very concerned about the speeding and the parking,” Ross said.
Some of the recent crowds can be attributed to the town’s continued closure of parking at its 12 public beach access points because of concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When parking has gotten full at nearby beaches like Coquina Beach or , people have driven to the Village to look for spaces.
“The people have no respect for this neighborhood that are coming in and speeding at 45 miles an hour and throwing their trash on Broadway in people’s yards,” Ross said. “It’s ridiculous.”
The parking problems could be somewhat alleviated when the town’s public beach parking reopens. Town Manager Tom Harmer’s latest executive order is set to be re-evaluated no later than Sunday. Harmer’s current order keeps public beach parking closed in the town.
Even once public beach parking reopens in the town, Ross and many residents are advocating for a resident-only parking system in Longbeach Village.
Harmer wrote in an email that he has included the issue of scheduling a Village parking workshop as part of his COVID-19 update during Monday’s virtual meeting. Harmer is planning to ask commissioners if they would like to discuss the issue before the July/August recess. If commissioners agree to hold a meeting to discuss Village parking, Harmer said it would likely need to be held virtually.
Mayor Ken Schneier wrote in an email that he plans to advise the commission to hold a meeting about Village parking in some capacity.
“I apologize that we have been unable to schedule a public hearing on the proposal,” Schneier wrote. “It's easy to blame everything on the pandemic, but we have thought it important to try to discuss this controversial matter in a physical meeting where residents and Commissioners can get all views on the table in person and in an open forum.
“It is still my hope that we can do this soon, but if a physical meeting can't be held safely, we do plan to schedule a discussion of Village parking by Zoom or otherwise before Summer recess. I hope that everyone involved understands that it is never easy to resolve issues concerning competing rights to the use of public property and that we will continue to do our best to reach a fair solution.”
On Monday, commissioners are also scheduled to discuss proposed changes to restaurant parking in the town.
“We’ve had parking problems, speeding problems, trash being thrown on Broadway and on Lois [Avenue], specifically due to people parking there that are actually restaurant guests,” Ross said. “This was happening before the pandemic.”
Longboat Key residents have also sent emails to the town about dozens and maybe even hundreds of boats anchored on the weekends off Jewfish Key.
It is the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s responsibility to monitor the waterways.
On March 27, the that required recreational boaters to have no more than 10 people on board and to stay at least 50 feet away from other boats to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, the FWC as of May 8.
Even with the rescinded rules, the town has .