Scarborough eyes raising some beach parking fees

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SCARBOROUGH — Some beachgoers could have to pay higher parking fees next year at Ferry, Higgins and Pine Point beaches. 

Town councilors passed the first reading of proposed parking fees for 2018 summer beach parking on Wednesday evening, with little discussion. They scheduled a public hearing on the fees for their next meeting, on Dec. 6.

Councilors on Wednesday also moved forward on a new public safety building and authorized Town Manager Thomas Hall to put the current building up for sale. 

Voters on Nov. 7 approved borrowing $19.5 million to build a new public safety building. The 53,000-square-foot building would house police, fire, emergency medical services and emergency dispatch on U.S. Route 1 property already owned by the town.

Officials have said estimates of the value of the existing building have come in at more than $1.4 million.

The town owns two lots, one where public safety is now housed, along with a second parcel adjacent to the building. They will be listed separately to appeal to more buyers, but Hall said the same buyer could purchase both lots and merge them.

Hall told councilors he didn’t know how long it would take to sell the properties, so he felt it prudent to list as soon as possible. If the town finds a buyer quickly, it could negotiate the sale in accordance with the construction of the new building. 

Hall said the town is working at an accelerated schedule and he would like to be able to “hit the market” in January, while bond interest rates are still low. 

Beach parking

The proposed fees for resident season passes for beach parking will remain the same, at $40, but nonresident passes could double from $75 to $150. Parking for resident seniors and veterans will still be free.

Daily parking passes could climb from $10 to $15 at the three beaches. A 5:30 a.m.-9 a.m. parking fee could also be added for $5, however, hourly meters will remain at $1 at Ferry and Higgins beaches.

A nonresident season boat launch pass could increase from $50 to $75; a nonresident pier use permit could increase from $100 to $300.

Fees are in effect for parking and use of boat launches from the Friday before Memorial Day through the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

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