Island pay to park plan gets go-ahead

Special to the PRESS

The South Padre Island City Council debated a proposed amendment to their Beach User Fee Plan to begin charging for parking near the beach. Shoreline Management Director Brandon Hill provided the background information regarding the proposal.

Hill reviewed the requirement set forth by the Texas General Land Office (GLO) to provide an adequate amount of spaces in proximity to the beach in order to be able to restrict vehicular traffic on the beach itself. He explained that one parking spot must be provided for every 15 linear feet of beach that is closed to vehicles.

“The State gives us the ability to charge for that parking if we so choose,” said Hill. He added that there are rules about what is acceptable to charge as well specifications on how the revenues collected can be used. “It’s all framed within shoreline improvements, shoreline amenities and upkeep.”

Hill noted that in 2015, the City submitted a Beach User Fee Plan to the GLO that was approved. He added that in 2017, the plan was amended to reflect an accurate count of available parking spaces.

Whether to implement paid parking seasonally or year-round, which parking spaces to include, and whether to charge hourly or longer term rates were the three main decisions Hill said needed to be addressed by Council.

On the issue of seasonally versus year-round, Hill reported that the existing plan calls for seasonal; however, City staff no longer recommends this approach.

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