ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – Taking advantage of the beauty of St. Augustine Beach could soon come with an added cost -- for locals and visitors like.
That’s because the city is eyeing a plan to add up to 300 paid parking spots in 13 different locations, including beach accesses off of A1A and some residential side streets as soon as April.
According a Dec. 10 memo provided to city commissioners by City Manager Max Royle, those looking to park in select areas would have to go through a pay-by-phone system, instead of traditional meters.
After sending out a request for proposals, the city received six responses. It’s currently in talks with a vendor to add an app called Passport, the same app the city of St. Augustine will launch in January.
Here’s how the proposed pricing structure breaks down: it would cost 50 cents an hour for residents, $1.25 an hour for St. Augustine residents and $2.50 an hour for everyone else.
It’s anticipated that the plan could generate roughly $403,000 a year. That money would be used to fund improvements like paving unfinished lots, and potentially adding more parking around the city.
A vote on whether to adopt the plan is set for January. Then the city would hire a parking enforcement officer and add signs to all paid parking zones before April.
Resident Dave Munroe said one of the biggest benefits of living in St. Augustine Beach is the ability to enjoy his surroundings without ever having to pay for parking. He doesn’t want that to change.
“Why should I have to pay to do that?” he wondered. “I already paid the tax to live on the island.”
Constance Campbell, who also lives in St. Augustine Beach, said she’s fine with the city adding paid parking but thinks residents, like herself, should be exempt.
“The people that live in St. Johns County should have a break from all that. The tourists are the ones that should pay,” Campbell said.
In town on a visit from Kansas, Becky Purvis said she enjoys not paying for parking. She said she might think twice about coming to St. Augustine Beach if that changes.
“I don’t think you should have to pay,” said Purvis. “ … You’re already getting all kinds of money from the tourists. At least they can park for free.”