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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

More Anna Maria parking plans at Feb. 5 meeting

The initial euphoria that greeted Anna Maria City Commissioner Duke Miller's proposed parking plan (The Islander, Jan. 21) appears to be wearing off, at least among fellow commissioners.

Miller's proposal, the latest in a seemingly endless plethora of proposed parking solutions the past 80-plus years for this residential community, would essentially allow individual owners to provide parking on the right of way in front of their property, if they so choose.

The proposal would replace a designated parking plan for 171 spaces along streets within the Beach Access Zone that the commission has been studying the past nine months.

But the commission may now have to deal with other proposals from commissioners at its Feb. 5 parking workshop session.

Commission Chairperson John Quam will present his "Plan X" to have 102 parking spaces within the Beach Access Zone.

Parking would be based on location, not on designated parking spaces. "In most cases, there is only one parking location per street," he said.

All other areas of the rights of way except for the approved parking location would be "no parking." If a property owner does not have a driveway, they would apply for a permit through the code enforcement board to park in the right of way, said Quam.

Plan X, he said, allows for "limited parking near the beach for residents, non-resident property owners and the general public." He also said it was "fair and even-handed" by diffusing limited parking throughout the BAZ.

Not to be outdone, Commissioner Dale Woodland said he could support the Miller plan only if two other parking plan options he presented last December fail.

The first option he favors is to remove all No Parking signs except those needed for safety and have diligent law enforcement.

If that proposal doesn't work, Woodland would like to implement alternate street parking.

Should neither of those options prove viable, then, said Woodland, he could support the Miller plan. He emphasized, however, that support is only after the first two options have failed.

In other words, his support of the Miller plan is only as a 'court of last resort.'

"I don't believe we have a serious parking problem, certainly not one that can't be controlled," Woodland concluded, but with the continuing controversy surrounding any proposed parking solution in Anna Maria, he added in a classic understatement that, "It will take courage for this commission to resolve the parking debate."