City needs to recoup costs with visitor parking

(May 31, 2013)

The following was sent to the Ocean City mayor and City Council.


Mr. Mayor and Honorable

Council Members,

My wife and I are full-time residents and voting citizens of Ocean City and we are writing in support of your plans to extend paid parking in our city.

We support your efforts for a number of reasons: the city needs the revenue and I believe some of our fellow citizens and visitors are abusing your efforts to share costs equally and fairly in our resort city.

A number of objections have been voiced to your plan and I would like to address the two that I find most egregious:

Owners of Ocean Place condominiums are objecting because their overflow parking will now be forced to pay to park on 146th street. Being very familiar with Ocean Place I can guarantee you that their parking lot is never filled to capacity, not even on holidays. These people think it is our collective responsibility to provide them with free parking for their varied and sundry visitors without them using their own facility to the max. What they need is a “hot spot” variable parking plan to utilize their own facility before they ask the rest of us to solve their problems. I am aware that owners of Ocean Place have some sort of problems with their deed documents, but at the end of the day, their problems are their problems and I am sure they can fix them.

Visitors may be hard-pressed to afford the cost of a day’s parking and be discouraged from visiting our city. So what? If they can’t afford the cost, why would we want them to visit? As a business proposition, this should not be our target visitor audience, and at the end of the day I get disturbed that we spend $4,000,000 annually (the beach life guard and maintenance budget) so these people can enjoy our beaches with a modicum of safety and cleanliness and in more than a few instances, they contribute nothing to the cost of providing the amenities.

I would like to close with the story of a resident of Ocean City who lives west of coastal highway. In most days of the season he drives his beach equipment-loaded car to 143rd street early in the morning. He then secures a primo parking space very close to the beachhead. He removes his bicycle from the car and returns home until his family is delivered to the beach via another car. The cars then sit in their spaces all day.

I have to laugh just to keep from crying.

We live on Wight Street right on the ocean. We are at 143rd street and we urge you to install meters on Wight Street also. Yes, it will impact our visitors, but I think it’s a small price to pay to help fund our resort city and its amenities. As a matter of fact, I support paid parking throughout our entire fair city oceanside and in some instances, bayside.

Cities have to evolve and grow, not necessarily in size, but in those areas that support basic functions. Change is never easy, completely fair and mostly disturbing. Failure to change, however, is always fatal.

Thank you for letting me share our thoughts with you.

William S.Hennings

Ocean City

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