Town of Carolina Beach votes to increase parking rates

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Carolina Beach will soon have the highest parking rates of any beach town in New Hanover County. Town Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night in favor of increases.

Town leaders say price increases are necessary in order to secure contracts with privately owned parking lots.

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We’re being told, ‘we’re being offered this, can you offer us the same thing?'” said Carolina Beach Mayor LeAnn Pierce.

Pierce says last year some private lots began charging $5.00 per hour and were able to stay full. This has caused other privately-owned lots that typically lease out to the town to consider other options.

“We are raising those rates to be competitive, because if we lose those lots, they’re still going to charge it from another company and the town does not get those revenue,” Pierce said.



However, it isn’t just the private lots that will see higher prices. Lots considered to be premium will cost $5.00 per hour, up to $20.00 per day. Lots further from the beach will cost $3.00 per hour, up to $17.00 per day. Other lots will remain free.

“Parking is a revenue generator that goes into our general fund and that is a way that we can pass that on as a user fee versus a tax increase on property tax,” Pierce said.

The changes begin April 1, 2020. The paid parking season will be in effect until October 31. In 2021, paid parking will begin March 1.

The changes don’t just affect hourly and daily parking rates. Yearly parking passes for residents and property owners will go up from $20 to $40 per car/truck or golf cart. Passes for non-residents will increase from $150 to $175, and Central Business District employee passes will jump from $25 to $100.

Councilman JoDan Garza questioned Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin if the proposal had anything to do with lost revenue from freeman park.

“Is that the reason? No, that is not the reason,” Mayor Pierce said. “They are two separate entities, but yes, if we lose money there, we have to make it up somewhere else, but that’s not what we’re doing here with the parking.”

Meters without time limits will go up from $2.50 per hour to $5 per hour, up to $20 per day. Meters with time limits will go up to $3 an hour. Those rules are enforced from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Click here to watch the full council meeting. The parking discussion begins about an hour in.

Click here to read the original proposal before council made changes Tuesday night.