SEABROOK — Beach property owners who’ve counterfeited town-issued parking placards for renters, visitors or family to use illegally stand to lose their beach parking privileges entirely, after selectmen expressed their anger at the deception.
But fraudulent parking placards are just one of the many parking problems at Seabrook Beach, leading Selectman Ray Smith to term the situation there a “nightmare.” Town officials hope to pull together a committee made up of the stakeholders in hopes of developing solutions, some of which may even need Town Meeting approval.
With a police department substation at the beach this summer, officers have been diligent, patroling and enforcing parking, fireworks, public drinking and other regulations at the beach, according to police Chief Lee Bitomske. It was during one of those patrols this weekend that an officer discovered the illegal parking placards.
“Our officer was about to write a parking ticket when the person (who owned the car) ran out and said not to issue the ticket because she had a parking placard,” Bitomske said. “When she brought it out, the officer he knew right away it was counterfeit. He said, ‘I’ll take that.’ ”
Bitomske had four phony placards he showed selectmen yesterday, adding officers are now pursuing the beach property owners who’ve been producing their own illegal versions. His recommendation to selectmen is that owners found printing their own should forfeit the authentic placards they were given. The action would keep them from legally parking along areas of the beach district streets.
Selectman Ed Hess expressed his outrage, adding the forfeiture should be immediate, taking away roadside parking privileges for the rest of the summer.
Parking has always been dicey at Seabrook’s public beach. Seabrook Beach is not owned by the state of New Hampshire, as are most other beaches along the coast, like Hampton. The town doesn’t restrict access to its beach, anyone can use it, but parking is tightly regulated on the narrow streets.