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662 Spaces Would Convert to Paid Parking in Flagler Beach in Panel’s Vast, Costly Proposal

| April 29, 2015

flagler beach parking

Though it only happens during special events, the question is how to resolve Flagler Beach parking’s gridlock. The city has tried for at least two decades. It is trying again. (© FlaglerLive)

After two years and 26 meetings, including two public workshops, Flagler Beach’s parking committee on Thursday will formally submit its recommendation to the city commission: establish a broad, paid-parking plan in the city, transforming all city-owned parking lots and most premium parking streets downtown into paid-parking zones, including State Road A1A. In sum, the equivalent of 662 parking spaces would become metered through kiosks, with an up-front cost to the city of $1.2 million that the city would repay by 2021.

The recommendation only got a plurality, but not a majority, of the six-member committee, which was chaired by Roseanne Stocker and had a split membership of three residents and business owners and three city officials, including City Manager Bruce Campbell, Mayor Linda Provencher and Public Works Director Robert Smith. Attorney Scott Spradley and Shelley Warner rounded out the voting membership of the board, which also included non-voting member Kathleen Doyle, the city’s finance director.

The city commission appointed the committee in February 2013 in hopes of finding a solution to a two-decade issue Flagler Beach has yet to settle. The commission has considered numerous proposals over those two decades, from buying lots to building a parking infrastructure with trolleys or shuttles, to parking meters. (See a chronological run-down of that history here.)

While the city has managed to convert several vacant lots to its inventory of parking, it has never resolved the parking issue comprehensively—nor empirically addressed the question of whether there is, in fact, a parking problem in the city outside of special events, when Flagler Beach is unquestionably clogged, with some areas at a standstill.

The city claims that “challenges” ahead are inevitable, and doing nothing is not an option. The committee claims the number of visitors to its beaches has increased from 82,000 in 2009 to 136,000 in 2014. The city cites figures provided by the United States Lifesaving Association. The figures have not been independently verified.

“With the exception of some parking time limits near the pier and on a limited number of streets downtown,” the committee reports, “Flagler Beach does not currently have a true parking plan that addresses who parks where nor for how long. Some beachgoers park in the downtown in front of small businesses for multiple hours, which make these spaces unavailable for business customers. Employees of downtown businesses sometimes park for the length of their work-day or work-shift in the most premium parking spaces. Spaces in the most desirable city lots that could be used for visitors and customers are often used by employees.”

The committee’s top recommendation sees an up-front cost to the city of $1.2 million, and assumes considerable revenue, and fines, to pay it all back by 2012.

The committee stressed that its findings and recommendation “will not solve every parking challenge faced by the city,”  and that whatever option the commission settles on, it would have to be “tweaked” and would have to include the participation of residents and businesses at every stage.

Flagler Beach has been there before, and almost every time the city commission has either failed to act or found money wanting or run into issues out of its control. By punting to a committee, the commission was again displaying a reluctance to make the parking matter its own to resolve, though with the committee’s two years of work, the commission will find it difficult not to take the recommendations seriously and do something. But that process will only begin Thursday, and certainly will not end there.

The committee summed up general proposals outside of its four main options. Those proposals include building a 75-space parking lot on South Flagler Avenue, the present site of the Public Works Department, and another 29-space lot on 4th Street. Both of these plans have been proposed in the past. The committee also suggests considering an actual parking structure, though it has no site in mind, along with buying additional lots and installing more bike racks.

Additional proposals, also considered in the past but never implemented, would study the viability of a trolley or shuttle system and the viability of parking under the Intracoastal bridge, with free transportation to the beach.

The committee then turned its attention to four specific options.

One option is to do nothing. That option is in line with those who think the city has no significant parking problem, but committee members caution that the do-nothing approach will deny the city a new stream of revenue, requiring taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for visitors’ impacts on the city, while ignoring challenges that “will only get worse the longer we do not address them.”

Option 2: No paid parking anywhere, but enforce time limits more rigorously in more places, including along A1A, forcing beach-goers to park in (proposed) new lots on South Flagler Avenue. The plan implies citations for people violating the time limits, and therefore some new revenue for the city.

Options 3 and 4 revive versions of a paid-parking system Campbell proposed in 2013. Both options would convert all city parking lots into paid parking, except for the lot on South Flagler Avenue. Option 3 would keep street parking free, so that a total of 170 spaces would become metered. Option 4 would turn the equivalent of 662 spaces into paid parking throughout the city, including along A1A.  The system in both cases would be administered through kiosks. Option 3 would generate net revenue (or profit), after expenses are paid, of between $40,000 and $83,000 a year, depending on how heavily the parking lots are used. Option 4, with more streets turned over to paid parking, would generate between $400,000 and $800,000 a year in profit.

But those sums also assume that the city will take a punishing attitude toward violators, generating from $60,000 in fines and forfeitures in the first year of the program, to $81,000 by 2020.

Those options create the sort of potential problems paid parking proposals have imagined in the past: more people might park in residential neighborhoods, creating conflicts with residents. Both proposals require a large up-front investment by the city. Both might have a negative impact on businesses and the city’s image. And to get Option 4 operational, the city would have to buy 61 kiosks (as opposed to six for Option 3), with start-up costs of $867,000 the city would have to borrow from its general fund. The five-year maintenance contract for the kiosk system alone would add up to $218,000. Overall capital costs for the program would add up to $1.2 million. To repay that cost, each of the projected 662 parking spaces in the city would have to generate $375 annually.

On the other hand, neither would eliminate free parking in certain areas of the city, and the city could find itself with a new stream of revenue. Additionally, all parking fees would be suspended during the slow season, between Oct. 15 and February 15.

When committee members voted on the four options, Option 4 got three votes, Option 3 got two, and Option 2 got one vote. Doing nothing was no one’s choice.

Flagler Beach Parking Committee Findings and Recommendations (2015)

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56 Responses for “662 Spaces Would Convert to Paid Parking in Flagler Beach in Panel’s Vast, Costly Proposal”

  1. Way to keep messing up that nice little town….will just go further North to park. This is just going to take money away from the little businesses in town.

  2. And I would NEVER go there again for dinner.

  3. It’s already so expensive to walk on the pier that I refuse to use it

  4. No no that’s why I go there

  5. Gary Walsh says:

    If pay will stay away. Everyone gets too greedy.

  6. Shane Wood says:

    Chairman Shupe & Big Daddy Campbell need a way to fund their Fire Department’s new $600k toy

  7. Paid parking would be the ruin of FB. I come down every day for lunch to support the local businesses. I would def stop if I had to pay for parking. I have never had an issue getting a spot, except 4th of July.

  8. Here is a simple solution. Instead of parallel parking, why not park cars on an angle to allow more cars to park? In essence two cars parked at an angle could replace one parallel-parked car. This would immediately double the parking spaces. The only problem I can think of is oversized vehicles. Perhaps, designated areas for these vehicles might make sense.

  9. Just turn the bridge on 100 into a toll bridge for all non residents of Flagler Beach. Lots of new revenue!!

  10. TeddyBallGame says:

    Always follow the money. 50 cents per hour is a set up for the more profitable $45 fines for failure to pay. We know how it works. So goodbye Flagler Beach restaurants unless you provide me free parking.

  11. Not a good idea Mike Snyder, people won’t come, lose of revnue to the resturants and Buss, or they’ll use another way around. My opinion,

  12. Yup way to try to put small busisness out just to pad your pockets. Flagler is a small town with small shops. Quit trying to drive everyone out just so you pad your pockets. The beach is for everyone. Not just you greedy ass money grabbers

  13. Leave Flagler Beach alone. Stop trying to change it.

  14. Great news! As a local who lives in Flagler Beach this awesome! This money will improve our beaches. If you don’t like it pay a two bucks and go over the toll bridge to your beach in Palm Coast.

  15. Remember you are elected officials! VOTE!

  16. Bob Barnas says:

    Just another way to get money out of vistors pockets. Won’t hurt a lot, but the tickets the cops write will be another pain to deal with. Go to a meeting and tell them to stick it up ……

  17. confidential says:

    Beach goers and beach front businesses will pay the consequences for the city new parking meters greed for revenue. As for myself resident of this county since 1991 and with soon meters to park I will no longer go to Flagler Beach as to us is the same instead to visit Marineland beach. Until now we never had a problem to find a parking space to go to Finn’s or buy and ice cream from Sally’s or to go to the Golden Lion or the Flagler Beach winery etc….After the meters go up…no more FB. I am glad this Saturday we meet friends coming from central Florida to enjoy lunch at Finn’s as maybe will be our last one there. Greed kills it all doesn’t it?

    Also the city greed takes in consideration all those young surfers driving the distance to surf Flagler Beach and that they live on a dime day to day….betcha they can’t afford your soon to be parking meters! Are you all about to kill the golden eggs goose?

  18. Leave it along let people vote for not the town don’t make this so people leave and go somewhere elsewhere

  19. tomc says:

    It is really not my business since I live in Palm Coast, but… careful you don’t ruin your unique, delightful city, The plan will keep local people away.

  20. sue says:

    Hell No . You are heading for a disaster to the local economy of Flagler Beach leave it alone.

  21. Amazed says:

    Yes I think this is an page 35 of ‘ how to destroy a tourist area in five easy lessons ”

    1. Charge people to park there cars
    2. Have to police write as many tickets as possible
    3. Restrict the types of businesses allowed to open on the beach for moral laws
    4. Have each business charge their customers a surcharge for “city improvement ” that never happens
    5. Just keep thinking of more and more idiotic and greedy tactics to chase away as much business as possible then stand around and complain why Nobody wants to come here.


  22. Marilyn De Poalo says:

    They might want to look at what other cities have done. For instance, Sarasota installed parking meters in downtown, but they didn’t last long. Businesses lost revenue, people complained, so they were taken down.

  23. Edman says:

    Meters might make people park further away from their destination which would make them walk more…. solve our obesity problem?

  24. Rob says:

    Someone has to pay for that golf course folly.

  25. A Fine Day says:

    Better idea..Let’s charge a “politician idiot fee”. Every time they come up with another stupid idea, FINE THEM about $1000.00. This nonsense will stop !!!!

  26. The Truth says:

    This is ridiculous and will force me to bring my business elsewhere just out of principal. Flagler Beach is a small, quaint town. Please keep it that way.

  27. Mike says:

    I think the best option for Flagler beach is to make either the even or the odd numbered streets one-way from A1A to central from 15th street north to 15th street south. The city can install diagonal parking within the existing city owned right of way on these one-way roads that are already paved. All that is needed to achieve this is addition striping and bumper stops. Over 300 parking spaces can be created with this option on existing developed paved city owned land (the road). Diagonal parking with a one-way drive aisle fits within 35′ of width. The right of way in Flagler beach on side streets is 50′ wide. You still have room for a sidewalk if you wish. This option will allow the city to eliminate all parking on either side of A1A except in front of the pier area. By eliminating A1A parking you will allow the dune system to rebuild and you will eliminate the site distance hazards caused by vehicles parking on the side of A1A, which prevents cars from safely pulling out onto A1A. Nowhere in the entire country does A1A have so many cross streets in such a short span as it does in Flagler beach. This will provide far more parking for residents, businesses and visitors than any of the options listed above. In the future, parking kiosks can be installed on the one-way streets if that is the desire of the commission. Crosswalk striping can be installed across a1a at the location of the one way streets and the speed limit can be lowered to 30 mph through this stretch of A1A. Vehicles that pull down a one-way street have the option to take a right or left on central and pull right back into A1A if they desire. Homeowners along A1A will no longer have cars parked in front of their houses. Fencing and landscaping could be installed if the few houses that live on the selected one-way streets object to the parking, although a majority of these houses still experience parking adjacent their homes in the existing condition. As stated in the options above, parking in Flagler beach is only a problem 8 months a year. Why waste tax payer money building parking lots on taxable land when the parking lots already exist and we just aren’t utilizing them.

    • Eva says:

      Mike, do you live on one of those streets? I do, and would not support ay idea of multiple cars diagonally parked down my little street, thank you. I think we are one little small town and when it’s full it’s full, and visitors can go further north or south. Just leave it alone, it’s not broke (well except maybe for the 4th party lol, but that’s only one day).

  28. Citizen says:

    I would pay to park in a nice lot with bathrooms and showers and even a small splash park for my kids (even though Volusia County offers all that for free!) but to pay to park just to use the beack? No WAY!! St. Johns County and Volusia County both offer free lots with nice facilities, will go there if they do charge.

  29. tulip says:

    It was stated in the article that employees are taking up the prime location parking spaces for themselves, thus making it harder for residents and visitors to access the beach. Why are the employees allowed to do this? There should be a designated areas where they can park while at work, just like other businesses do in other cities and towns.

    I don’t have a suggestion as to how to solve the problem, but meters aren’t the answer. I’ve noticed there is a lot of parallel parking, so why not disallow that and just have “regular” parking. That will allow 2 cars into the space that one parallel parking car takes up?

  30. Ashley Capitola says:

    There’s always something with these people. One day it’s the about increasing the no surfing zone at the pier, the next it’s a firetruck that they don’t need, then about a restaurant’s extra parking lot, now it’s this parking fiasco. I feel like they just sit around and actually try to come up with all these idiotic ideas. Flagler Beach will never be New York City, thank goodness. Jax Beach doesn’t even have paid parking! Why not worry about why A1A goes under water eveytime it drizzles (a safety hazard), or maybe spend more enforcing littering on the beach (an environmental hazard). This makes me sick to my stomach. I will be at the meeting. Hopefully I will be able to hold in my laughter when they start speaking.

  31. Obama 2015 says:

    Parking Meters– the red light cameras of Flagler beach.

  32. RightIsRight says:

    The “parking problem” is just smoke and mirrors to what is really going on. This is one right out of the big government playbook. Invent a perceived problem that only more government can solve. People need to understand what our federal, state, and local governments are becoming. Think of them as any business. What does a business do? It constantly tries to expand its markets, revenue, by convincing more and more people that they need its “products” or in the case of government, what they call “services”. And as more and more people become dependent on it, they’re motivated to ensure the continued expansion.

    The people of Flagler beach need to stop this cancer now. Once it expands its tentacles into parking it will only grow. They’ll use this revenue to expand the government business, looking for more and more revenue streams that go beyond parking. Unfortunately this fight is occurring all over the country at many levels and many don’t understand it. Every time government wants to raise more revenue or create new programs, they need to understand the true motivation.

    If you want to see the potential future of Flagler Beach or many other parts of Florida, all you need to do is visit one of the areas many of us left to escape the high cost of living, typically the north. Unfortunately many don’t understand the root of that high cost and they’re allowing the cancer to spread, even into the small town of Flagler Beach. This is truly one small battle in a bigger war against an ever expanding government. Let’s not lose it.

  33. Beacher says:

    Seems the folks living outside of Flagler Beach want the few taxpayers living in this small city to continue paying for their access to the beach. Most communities require that restaurants and other businesses provide parking spaces for their customers. The business in Flagler Beach want the taxpayers to purchase land for their parking. If the parking meters will make all those complainers about investing a couple dollars to support infrastructure via paid parking to boycott Flager Beach and drive to St. Augustine and Daytona – all the more reason for parking meters.

  34. RAKA says:


  35. Diane J Cline says:

    I’m surprised Option 2 didn’t get more than one vote which makes me look at this a little more critically. I went to one of the meetings and was surprised at how restrictive the process was, bordering on how we work with our children when getting dressed for school, “Do you want to wear this or this” and in the meeting it was “Shall we have paid parking here or here?” At the end of the meeting I asked if we could poll our group to see if we didn’t want paid parking at all and was emphatically told no.

    This supposedly was all brought about because of a lack of parking yet there is no mention of creating more parking in Option 3 or 4 and yet they garnered the bulk of the votes. Also supposedly, a revenue stream will be created but the numbers they used were so skewed it became obvious that we will be lucky to even be able to pay for the process. If it is beach services that financially need help I’ve heard nothing about applying pressure to our sister cities or the County for more coffers so you wonder if that’s really a concern after all.

    I next looked at the Committee. I like Bruce but I think he has his private sector hat on and let’s face it, if you are working for him you’ll probably vote the way he wants so that’s 3 votes that are suspicious. The Chair tried to prevent Sea Ray from getting additional parking so you know how her head works, and Mr. Spradley is a bankruptcy attorney and his clients are probably thinking more about how to make ends meet than frolicking at the beach. I apologize as I am not familiar with the last person, but I’m not really getting a feeling that this group represents the town as a whole.

    So, we don’t want to add parking spaces and this Committee would like to spend a over a $1,000,000 to achieve a highly questionable revenue stream which could back fire and end up costing us money…not to mention the fact that we could very likely experience a severe drop in existing revenue generated from established businesses because we now have the reputation that we don’t like “out-of-towners.”

    A sign on the other side of the bridge saying “Keep Out” would be a lot cheaper.

    • confidential says:

      Kudos to your point Diane! Well said!
      I get the feeling that some residents like Beacher above really believe that the local taxpayers pay for out of town visitors coming to the beach….In which way? To the contrary they spend the $$ visiting that you all benefit from. Because you bought a house in FB doesn’t mean you also bought A1A and the beach. You knew very well you bought in an beach event happy crowded town, were traffic is a mad house like in any other event or weekends…and now want to change it? What about the pennyless surfing kids that drive the distance to catch a wave and munch on a burger, hotdog w/fries and a coke? Imagine what a dollar and hour meter will do to their lunch money? Going to the beach should be free as is the people’s land and parking as is now, first come first serve!
      Want to do here like in NY and NJ that cost you an arm and a leg going to the beach in park’s fees, parking and long lines to access the state park to be able to sink your feet in the sand and catch a wave …and just because all the beach front has been sold to the wealthy or metered or enclosed and priced by the government?

  36. marlene seale says:

    i think we should use the revenue from the Flagler Beach Golf Course ……oh….there isnt any…..that was a wise decision as well……i vote NO for paid parking……i think we should exhaust all options for obtaining more parking first……

  37. PeachesMcGee says:

    With the exception of Flagler Beach, most beach-side cities in Florida charge for parking.

    If you can afford to drive to the beach, eat at a restaurant, or buy drinks, then you can well afford 50 cents to 1 dollar per hour to park.

    Don’t like the parking fees? Don’t go to the beach. More room for the rest of us.

  38. Swizz says:

    I find it amusing that rightisright’s antigovernment rhetoric encourages less government and the critical need to stop this spreading cancer, when the lack of government is what got us here in the first place. If the City of Flagler Beach would have utilized proper zoning ordinances/enforcement, more sophisticated Land Development Codes, smart growth planning strategies, etc., we wouldn’t be where we’re at today. Allowing businesses to increase intensity without providing adequate off-street parking is one of the primary reasons the core area is as bad as it is right now. Unfortunately this is a byproduct of a small city with too few employees and a rapidly changing city council. With that said, I commend the city staff and members of the committee for taking on this challenging issue. I’m not sure which option is the best, but I do know Option 1 is only asking for trouble. Hiding our heads in the sand and hoping the problems go away isn’t a proactive strategy. Personally, I’d like to see them amend Option IV to incorporate a trolley system and an amnesty system that would forgive fines and/or fees if you’re supporting the local businesses. If you use the Ocean Walk parking garage in Daytona Beach, your parking fee is waived if you get your ticket stamped by a supporting business. Maybe we could do something like that here. The one way street idea, with parking in front of our homes is a bad idea. I do believe it is not unfair to ask the visiting citizens of palm coast and elsewhere to contribute to keeping our city and beach clean and family friendly.

  39. Willy Laundrie says:

    As a life long resident of Flagler County, and a large portion of those years spent in Flagler Beach I can not stand behind an idea that places parking meters along a state designated scenic highway.

    Im sure the Florida legislature DID NOT have parking meters and a revenue stream in mind when it designated funding for our stretch of A-1-A by making it a scenic highway.

    While attending some of the committee meetings on the matter I learned that up to 200,000 generated off of the parking along the A-1-A side only would be paid to the state before Flagler Beach sees a dime.

    To date has the City provided a parking plan for special events? Ummm… NO

    Has the City provided a realistic projection of parking meter maintenance subjected to salt air?

    enforcing current parking laws, and coming up with a traffic pattern/parking plan during special events is a more feasible, responsible approach.

  40. confidential says:

    Saint Augustine has a free and beautiful pier by Vilano and Daytona has a gorgeous pier always busy and both are FREE, though parking meters are the only way to access the Daytona Pier…but that one is worth the few dollars parking.

  41. Sherry E says:

    With the costs of city infrastructure, maintenance and services ever rising and revenue sharing from county and state coffers not keeping pace, Flagler Beach residents and businesses should not be required to bear those costs alone. We love others coming to enjoy the beach! Our small, often family owned, businesses rely on visiting customers to keep their companies thriving and creating good jobs. . . absolutely!

    Paying a reasonable parking fee, is not meant to be a burden to anyone. Such cost sharing is common in Florida and all over the USA. These funds are needed for communities to provide the safe, clean recreational areas we all enjoy.

  42. Pete says:

    This is a great idea! I love the fact that Flagler Beach is a quiet beach community and this will certainly help keep the peace.

    Also, i think we have too many restaurants and that makes it difficult to decide where to go. This will cause several to go out of business and make going out to dinner a less stressful event.

    I would like the city to take this one step further. Could you please increase property tax for senior citizens? This would make the town really quiet and vastly improve the quality of life.

    Keep up the great work!

  43. Henry mason says:

    In two years not a single “solution” can be found that more than three people could agree on? Really? The reason is simple – there is no parking problem in Flagler Beach. I defy any committee member to produce a valid, measurable problem statement with which all six members of the committee and all members of the City Council would agree. It must be based on statiistically valid data before we choose a “solution for it that could cost more than a million dollars of taxpayers’ money.

    We have four opinions that are searching for a cause. As the kids say, “good luck with that!”

  44. Cypress Grand says:

    REVENUE: Start fining people who trash the beautiful beach! Some beaches give lifeguards the permission to write a fine, maybe start there with summer coming!

  45. a tiny manatee says:

    You guys should just make the bridge on 100 a toll bridge.

  46. tulip says:

    Only so many businesses and so many people and vehicles can comfortably fit into an area. FB has grown with new restaurants, etc. Businesses and restaurants require parking availability and that is just about exhausted in FB. Also at times the roads can’t handle the increased traffic from the growing population in and around FB.

    If parking meters are installed, more people will park further away and supposedly not patronize the businesses.Now those spots would be good for mobile vendors to sell hot dogs, etc. However, if all the parking is taken up, especially the convenient parking, then those people that come to FB to swim or visit will just leave and go elsewhere if they can’t find a parking space. Sounds to me that no matter what is done, FB tourism and businesses will not be able to grow much more anyway because it’s getting less and less user friendly. Anyone for a giant parking garage?LOL

    It would be great if a good solution could be found.

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