Atlantic Beach gives thumbs up to paid parking

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Paid parking is coming to Atlantic Beach, specifically in the Beaches Town Center area, in hopes of easing congestion.

Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday to approve a metered parking program about three weeks ago, but they needed to create the right language. It reads any decision or rules made about the parking program will need to be approved by the city manager and commissioners.

Now that they have the authority to implement a paid parking plan, commissioners will be working on specific rules. Then, they'll start a pilot program.

Visitors to the Beaches Town Center will notice parking kiosks up in some spots. Commissioner Brittany Norris explained those belong to Neptune Beach, but could potentially be used by Atlantic Beach.

There are a total of 60 spots Atlantic Beach can use for its paid parking program. Neptune Beach, however, has 200 paid parking spots.

Norris explained what that ultimately means for Atlantic Beach residents, some of whom said they aren't happy about the program.

"I know we have citizens who don't want to participate," Norris said. "Unfortunately, even if (they) don't participate, the majority of the Beaches Town Center will be paid parking because that's the way Neptune Beach has had it."

"They're just going to influence, creep into neighborhoods and on people's property by charging just paid parking at the Town Center, which is just going to end up being paid parking at the beach access," said Nick Kenyln, an Atlantic Beach homeowner.

Norris wants a discussion about treating the beach access points differently than the Town Center area and she plans on sparking that conversation. As the commission works on specifics, the city has said it will review the program during the first quarter of 2021.

About the Author: