Pursuing parking master plan

(May 31, 2013)

Editor,

I am a part-time resident of Ocean City and live in the Ocean Place Condominium on 146th Street. I have been very involved in the paid parking controversy and appreciate this paper’s coverage so others know what is happening. I believe we are being treated unfairly by the Ocean City government and am saddened by it. My love for Ocean City is not what it used to be.

Your article in the May 24 edition stated some of Mary Knight’s comments.

I was taken aback by her statement that, “You don’t have to debate me, because you’re not going to change my mind.”

Maybe our condo association will not change her mind, but are we not expected to debate and make our points? Is this not a democracy?

Many of our members have traveled long distances to go to meetings to offer public comments. (We were refused an opportunity to present in a specific Council agenda item.) More and more we get looks that show the Council’s displeasure that we are objecting.

I cannot imagine why they do not realize why we are so adamant about this. Our residents who must park on a city street, 146th, will have to pay up to $25 per day to park.

In North Ocean City, no other condo resident will have to do that. The other street selected, 131st, does not involve condo residents like us. And the Council wonders why we are upset?

We have been told that we will get used to it over time. We have been called low hanging fruit and an area of least resistance. It is obvious to us that the selection of 146th was only to obtain revenue ($24,000 not including expenses, probably significant) and our selection was not based on valid data or criteria.

Ms. Knight also stated she could not understand why we do not want to pay for parking in front of our house. Does she pay for parking in front of her house? Only we will have to pay in all of North Ocean City and we already pay dearly for Ocean City services through our real estate taxes.

In the Ocean City Today Opinion, the paper questions whether paid parking should be implemented citywide.

I do not think there is an answer to that yet. Our association has suggested the city pursue a master plan for paid parking. It should be based on hard data and include the opinion of the City as well as stakeholders—residents who already pay significant taxes.

It does not have to be expensive but the Town has to be willing to do something that is not quick and dirty like the decision to make only our street paid parking.

I am sure there is a way to bring in revenue from “day tripper” paid parking and at the same time protect taxpaying residents from additional parking fees they should not have to pay.

We have requested, and the Council is considering, development of a comprehensive paid parking plan.  I hope that proceeds. In the meantime, we have asked the council to delay paid parking on our street until that plan is developed. We are willing to live with a rational plan.

Ron Deacon

Ocean City

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