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Large Portion Of Sea Bright Paid Parking Spaces To Be Removed

SEA BRIGHT: The borough council has voted to remove the paid parking designation from 88 spaces during its July 5 meeting.

Mayor Dina Long said last month that she would like to like to see some changes made to the paid parking system and met with other borough officials to address concerns raised by businesses, residents and guests.

The recommendation was eventually made to remove the paid parking designation from East Ocean Avenue (the area in front of Woody's and The Mad Hatter) and change the spaces to 2-hour limit parking from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wayne Street and the Sea Bright Borough Hall lot will also undergo this change.

"I think this is a reasonable compromise and it's probably the least confusing because it's one discreet area," Long said.

In an email to other borough officials, Administrator Joseph Verruni said the change will accomplish a number of goals.

"It will help daytime merchants that can no give customers an option of free parking. It will also allow fishermen, volleyball players, surfers, etc., some free parking," Verruni said.

He said it will also give residents in the downtown area early evening parking and will allow the paid parking kiosk to be moved to the beach or along Ocean Avenue. He said that moving the kiosk, along with the addition of another kiosk in the near future, should help lessen the lines to use them.

The spaces will still have numbers in the event that officials "want to return to the pay-to-park system in this area in the future," according to Verruni's email.

Woody's Owner Chris Wood was one of the most vocal opponents of having the paid parking in the area.

"It's killing the business district," Wood said. "I think the town is being very penny-wise and pound-foolish."

Verruni said the change is a way to meet opponents' concerns "halfway."

Councilwoman Peggy Bills said she was not in favor of making any changes this season and would rather look at the paid parking system in the offseason and then possibly modify it for 2017.

"Let's see what works, let's see what doesn't work and then take a look at it," Bills said.

Councilman Marc Leckstein said he felt the change was "counterproductive" because it will just cause everybody to flock to the 2-hour lots to avoid paying to park.

Councilmembers Leckstein, Bills John Lamia voted against the change with Councilmen Brian Kelly, William Keeler and Charles Rooney voting for it. Long broke the tie with her affirmative vote.

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