Cape Elizabeth rejects parking fees at Fort Williams by 2-1 margin

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CAPE ELIZABETH — For the second time in nearly three years, residents rejected a proposal to implement a pay-and-display parking fee system at Fort Williams Park.

Residents voted 2,532 to 1,262 against the proposal in a non-binding advisory vote on June 8.

The Town Council approved the proposed fees for parking at Fort Williams on Feb. 8. Drivers would have to pay $5 for a one-day pass; annual passes would cost $10 for Cape residents and $20 for non-residents.

But the council agreed residents should have another chance to weigh-in before deciding whether to implement the fees. Town Manager Mike McGovern said the council could use the referendum vote as an advisory, and then either reconsider its decision or proceed with the parking fees.

Betty Crane, a member of the Citizens for a Free Fort Williams, said she believes the council will make the “right decision” and scrap the fee plan as a result of Tuesday’s 2-1 margin.

“We are very pleased with the results, but we know there is a lot of work ahead of us,” she said. “We have to try to convince the council and town government that there are better ways than fees to fund the park. Hopefully we can make some suggestions about how to raise the money. It may take some money to make some money, but I think they will listen to the public and make the right decision.”

Councilor Sara Lennon said she could never vote to override what the residents advised.

“I say congratulations to those who ran the no-fee campaign. This vote has shown Cape’s passion and generous nature,” she said. “I now hope these same people can channel their energy to help invest in the capital needs and vitality of the fort and its future.”

She said she would like to see some sort of fee implemented for commercial bus and trolley traffic, and would like to form a small subcommittee to look into fundraising efforts such as festivals, parties or vendors.

The Town Council will meet Monday, June 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at Town Hall.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net

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