Cape Elizabeth limits parking on street near popular beach

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Parking on Surf Road is now limited to one side of the street.

Town councilors on June 13 amended parking regulations to ban street parking on the southwest side of Surf Road, closest to Fort Williams. The change was approved 5-0, with Councilors Molly MacAuslan and Kathy Ray absent.

The Town Council also discussed donating $75,000 to the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust to assist in the purchase of a 22.8-acre parcel.

Residents of Surf Road, which is near Casino Beach at the northern edge of Fort Williams Park, petitioned the town last month to limit or prohibit on-street parking. On May 9, councilors decided to move forward with limited parking, as recommended by Police Chief Neil Williams.

Only a few residents spoke at the June 13 public hearing, but more than a dozen signed petitions. Residents told the council they are concerned about the number of cars that park on Surf Road to access Casino Beach.

Although the beach is accessible from the street and access is not guarded, its use is technically restricted to neighborhood residents with deeded rights. People also park on Surf Road and walk to Fort Williams Park.

Residents told the council their biggest concern is limited access for emergency vehicles on an already narrow street. According to Williams, most of the road is 18 feet wide, but when people park on both sides of the road, threre’s not enough room for larger vehicles to pass.

Some residents said they want on-street parking to be banned altogether because if people can only park on one side, it will increase the number of cars circling the neighborhood looking for a spot.

Limiting parking to one side of the street is the better option, Williams said, because it still allows access for family and friends of residents, and would not prompt residents to notify the police department about visitors and contractors who must park on the street.

Councilors shared some concerns of their own, with Councilor Jamie Garvin saying the council should look at “longer-term problems” associated with enacting the ban. He said some people may go to neighboring streets to park instead.

Councilor Jessica Sullivan said she was worried about emergency vehicle access.

“The issue of emergency vehicles not having safe access is my overriding concern,” she said.

CELT donation

Councilors also approved donating $75,000 to the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, but the funding is contingent upon an agreement being drafted by the town attorney.

The Town Council will review the agreement July 11, when councilors are expected to give final approval of the donation. The money will come from the town’s land acquisition fund; the Conservation Commission recommended that the Town Council make the donation.

CELT is trying to purchase the Glew property, a parcel of just less than 23 acres located near Great Pond and Jewett Road. The purchase price is $315,000.

According to minutes from a May 31 Conservation Commission meeting, CELT has raised $22,000 from board members and other donors. The organization has also applied for grants, is conducting “quiet” fundraising in town, and has funds in its land acquisition account as well. 

The land connects to the town’s Greenbelt trail system, and, if the council agrees to the donation, a public access easement would be created. The town would jointly manage the land with CELT and would be “equal partners,” according to the Conservation Commission.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Parking on Surf Road in Cape Elizabeth will now be limited to one side of the street.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.