Holmes Beach committee plans reduce beach-area parking

The Holmes Beach traffic committee’s plan to ban street and right-of-way parking in residential neighborhoods is made of sand, said committee member Ursula Stemm.

Committee members discussed the proposed ban and the committee’s next steps at an Aug. 6 meeting.

“We have to present the proposal and let (commissioners) whittle it down,” said committee member Jaynie Christenson.

The traffic committee will present the next steps in their plan to ban parking in some residential areas at the city commission meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14.

They presented their idea and research to the commission at a meeting in July.

“The goal of this next presentation is to make sure that we have the data correct. I want this presentation to be clear and complete,” said committee chair Carol Soustek.

The committee is seeking approval from the commission to send a letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The letter will include their proposal to relocate some allocated parking spaces that figure into beach renourishment funding.

Soustek said the committee is seeking review to confirm the new placement and the quantity of signs indicating parking spaces will not endanger federal funding for beach projects.

The committee had its potential parking spots verified by Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer.

Soustek said after a letter of approval comes from the DEP, and the signs are relocated, the city will have to amend an interlocal agreement with Manatee County with the new parking space count.


Committee seeks public input

Committee members also discussed public feedback and are encouraging more from residents.

Members said they received mostly positive feedback, but some residents have voiced concerns over whether their guests will have the ability to park on the street in front of their homes.

“Other cities are doing it, and we need to find out what works for our city,” said Christenson, who suggested decals for on-street parking.

Committee member Pam Leckie said her concerns reach beyond the current practice of residential street parking.

“Suppose they put paid parking on the beach. Where do you think they’re going to go if they don’t want to pay?” asked Leckie.

Soustek said the parking restrictions might also indirectly keep “party houses” at bay. Committee members said they have heard complaints from residents about heavy traffic and parking near large vacation homes.

“We just need to educate people on how this can work to their benefit,” said Christenson.

The committee also created a petition that Christenson said can be used to gauge public opinion, as well as educate residents on the parking ban. She said in addition to circulating the petition, committee members could pass out fliers explaining the parking limits to residents.

Committee members also encourage residents to attend the Aug. 14 city commission meeting to voice their opinions.