Fernandina Beach mulls charging visitors for beach parking year-round

City wants to charge $5 a day for parking; residents would still park for free

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Fernandina Beach has received pushback from residents about the possibility of the city charging for parking at beach access points.

The plan was approved with a 3-2 vote during a City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

Initial plans to include residents among those who would pay to use the city's two main beach access lots have been scrapped.

City Manager Dale Martin said as it stands right now, the resolution would create year-round paid parking for all beach accesses, but city residents would park for free. 

Martin said license plate readers would be used to distinguish Fernandina Beach residents from visitors in the lots.

The pay lots at Main Beach Park and Seaside Park would cost $1 an hour, up to $5 for the day, or $25 for a weekly pass.

The idea is to help alleviate the cost of cleaning up the beaches and staffing beach rangers.

Now that the vote passed City Council, Martin has to create plan. He has yet to finalize a date when he would present that plan to the public.

Martin said city leaders hope to have the decision buttoned up by mid-December. The measure could be defeated or city leaders might agree with conditions already laid out in the plan.

If the change passes, a tentative date for it to go into effect would be April 1.

About the Authors: