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Parking rates on the rise in Wrightsville Beach

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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- As you pack that beach chair, sunglasses, and sunscreen make sure you include enough coins for parking meters because rates at Wrightsville Beach are going up.

The hours will remain the same, but the cost of going to Wrightsville Beach will not thanks to the rising cost of beach nourishment.

"The amount we've been setting aside is really nothing compared to the cost of the project and I see this as a way to start generating funds,” said Wrightsville Beach Mayor Pro Tem Darryl Mills.

While you’re lying in the sand it’s going to cost you more to park on the pavement. The hourly rate is increasing to $2.50 per hour, a day pass will increase from $12 to $15, and a weekly pass will set you back $75.

"I guess in the grand scheme of things it doesn't sound like a whole lot when you're coming here for a few hours, but I'm sure there are people who are going to probably just go to other beaches,” said Robert Ray.

According to a Lanier Parking study the $.50 cent increase will generate an estimated $448,000, a portion of which can be used for beach nourishment.

"You have a fiduciary responsibility for this town over the long haul and that's called our beach,” said one unidentified Wrightsville Beach resident. “Without the beach, no one is coming here!"

While many in attendance say they understand the move one local business owner says the board’s patience with the old pay rates expired faster than his parking meter.

"I can understand where they came from, but I just feel like this last year has been a struggle in Wrightsville Beach being a business owner and a resident with the bridge work that is going on, so there is the obvious thought that maybe this might add to the frustration,” said Ray.

The rate increase will become final on Tuesday during a special meeting that was needed to give the town attorney time to rewrite a final copy of the ordinance.

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