SEABROOK — Admitting summer parking at the beach has been a mess for years, selectmen yesterday approved sweeping changes in its beach parking ordinance, just in time for May 1, when parking placards are distributed.
Most agreed that the former system of different designated parking areas for beach residents and those who live uptown along the narrow beach district roads wasn’t working. Guest parking placards were being abused, and even counterfeited, with police spending too much time dealing with disputes over where drivers were parking. The result was the creation of an ad hoc beach parking committee to try to work out a new system.
After many meetings, two resignations, and some hard feelings, the committee met with Town Manager Bill Manzi on Wednesday with the goal of hammering out a compromise that will try to bring new order to too few parking spaces at the beach. After a lot of give and take, a new method was developed, Manzi said.
Selectmen approved the outcome at an emergency meeting called yesterday. At the end of this summer, a review of what worked and what didn’t in the new system will take place, selectmen said, that could end up bringing in further reforms or leaving things as is.
The new parking regulations are based on two definitions: a Seabrook resident property owner and a non-resident property owner. A Seabrook resident property owner is defined as one who owns property and who registers a vehicle or vehicles in town and/or is a registered Seabrook voter listed on the checklist.
A non-resident property owner may own property in Seabrook but doesn’t vote or register vehicles in Seabrook.
Resident property owners will get town parking stickers for their vehicles that allow them to park anywhere at the beach where parking is allowed, Manzi said. There are no restrictions of where anyone can park as long as he or she has a parking sticker.