TREASURE ISLAND – City commissioners settled a two-month discussion on beach parking passes March 5 by unanimously passing a resolution that sets a residents-only policy.
The cost will be $40 per year, which represents a 47 percent decrease from the amount that was originally proposed.
The move reverses an earlier measure that would have opened Treasure Island’s parking lots to residents and nonresidents for $75.
City residents paid $5 a year for the same parking passes from 1999 to 2012.
The original concept was to scrap the city’s residents-only parking policy to keep the city eligible for state beach renourishment funding. City Manager Reid Silverboard interpreted a letter from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to mean the city might be in violation of the minimum number of public parking spaces necessary for eligibility with a residents-only policy.
Research by Treasure Island resident Roger Evans later indicated otherwise, which was backed by Andy Squires, the coastal manager for Pinellas County.
“They say you can’t fight city hall, but I guess you can,” Evans said.
“What this all boils down to is this,” said Silverboard. “We can restrict our parking passes to residents only except for the (nonresident) parking spaces needed in the various parking lots. What this resolution does is it re-establishes the residents-only program and re-establishes the same criteria we had (before) for the requirements for residents to acquire a pass (one) per household.”
As things have worked out, city residents won’t lose too many options for parking.
The “skimmer lot,” on the south side of the pavilion on Sunset Beach will remain a pay station lot for residents and nonresidents alike. The parking passes will not be valid for any spaces at this location.
The same will hold true for 25 of 38 spaces in a lot north of the pavilion at West Gulf Boulevard and 81st Avenue.
Also, 10 spaces across West Gulf Boulevard from the Ka’Tiki beach bar and immediately south of Caddy’s will continue to be metered parking and not valid for those with parking passes.
Silverboard said signs proclaiming “Parking permits not valid at this space” would be erected in front of the affected spaces.
Silverboard inserted a provision in the latest version of the resolution stating parking passes shall be valid for all other city metered or pay station parking lots unless a sign specifically prohibits parking there.
Residents who purchased a 2013 parking pass for the previous fee of $75 will be eligible for a $35 refund at City Hall through March 22.
Nonresidents who bought a parking pass for 2013 also will be eligible for a partial refund through March 22 and will be able to use the pass through the remainder of the year. But nonresidents will not be able to renew their passes for 2014 unless they become residents of Treasure Island.
Silverboard said between 50 and 60 nonresidents have purchased passes for 2013.
In other action, commissioners:
• Passed an ordinance on second reading that amends the city’s five-year schedule of improvements for the capital improvement element of the comprehensive plan. The action is required by state law and routinely done each year.
• Passed a resolution awarding a $40,000 contract to Advanced Engineering for design work related to the 84th Avenue drainage improvements on Sunset Beach.
• Set a special meeting to complete a walkthrough on the recently completed Central Beach Trail. The walkthrough was scheduled earlier this week on March 12.
• Passed a resolution to award former City Commissioner Ed Gayton $5,690 in legal fees that were incurred from a lawsuit while Gayton was a member of the City Commission. Because the case was dropped by the plaintiff and was a voluntary dismissal, the city’s insurance coverage will pick up the cost.