The price of parking: Island visitors may soon have to pay for space

Special to the PRESS

The City of South Padre Island is once again considering implementing a beach user fee to provide paid parking at city beach accesses. The subject was the highlight of discussions during a meeting of the Shoreline Taskforce on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

“Beach user fee or a paid parking plan has long been discussed as part of South Padre Island’s management protocol,” noted Shoreline Management Director Brandon Hill. “It is something that we have an option but not an obligation to have.” Hill added that the State allows for the collection of beach user fees, and that those funds would go toward improving amenities and shoreline maintenance.

Taskforce member Virginia Guillot raised the question of whether any public workshops about the proposed plan were scheduled. “At this point no workshops or public meetings have been planned,” replied Hill. He went on to explain that the process has been for the Taskforce and City Council to put together the plan and then submit it to the Texas General Land Office (GLO), at which point the public would have an opportunity to provide their feedback.

“If you all would like to have some public meetings and feedback that’s certainly something that can be proposed,” acknowledged Hill. The options Hill asked the Taskforce to consider included whether to implement paid parking seasonally or on a year round basis, which parking spaces to designate as paid, and whether to charge an hourly rate or a fee covering a longer time period.

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