A couple of weeks ago, Rehoboth Beach commissioners made their first round of parking changes for the 2022 season by sunsetting COVID-related Meterless Mondays and to-go parking spaces for restaurants. Now commissioners are considering changes to the city’s parking regulations that would lengthen the enforcement season and increase the cost of residential-area meters.
During a Jan. 21 meeting, in recognition of the continued growth of visitors to the city before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, commissioners reached a consensus to move the beginning of the enforcement season from the Friday before Memorial Day to May 1 and change the season’s end date from the second Sunday after Labor Day to Sept. 30.
Resident Suzanne Goode suggested that instead of lengthening the season as a whole, the city should consider enforcing parking rules only during the weekends.
In addition to lengthening the season, commissioners reached a consensus to increase residential-area meters from $2 an hour to $3 an hour. Currently, meters in the commercial district – generally defined as Rehoboth, Baltimore and Wilmington avenues – are $3 an hour, while all others are $2 an hour.
There was a brief discussion about increasing all ocean-block meters to $5 an hour, but commissioners decided that would be too much for this season. In the end, they decided to revisit the ocean-block meters at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
Commissioners also held a brief discussion about increasing the cost of parking permits to reflect the longer enforcement season, but similar to the $5 an hour meters, the group decided it would be too much for this year.
Commissioners delayed action on the change to the enforcement season and residential meters to give the public an opportunity to voice their opinion on the changes. The group is expected to vote on these two issues during a special meeting that will follow their workshop Monday, Feb. 7.
Parking permits will still work for Deauville Beach
During the city’s first budget meeting Jan. 10, city staff recommended the installation of three parking meters in the city’s Deauville Beach parking lot to increase enforcement efficiency and pay options for visitors. The change would have resulted in parking permit holders not being able to use the lot with their permits, which they currently can.
During the Jan. 21 meeting, commissioners agreed to one parking meter at the lot so visitors without a parking permit or cash could use a credit card. However, they didn’t agree to full automation of the lot because they didn’t want to take the parking permit privilege away from residents.
Commissioners approve $540,000 for new meters
Commissioners did approve the purchase of 77 new meters for an area that primarily encompasses Rehoboth Avenue. The approved cost is $537,000.
The approval needed so the city could purchase and install them before the season starts. This marks the completion of the city replacing all its meters over the past few years.
Possible changes to unattended vehicle policy
Currently, Rehoboth code allows a property owner to complain about an unattended vehicle parked on the street in front of their house after it has been there for more than 24 hours. As of now, after an initial complaint is made, the city will place a notice on the vehicle saying it needs to be moved within 48 hours or it will be towed.
Recognizing the city offers week-long parking permits for visitors, city staff has recommended increasing the time to eight days before a vehicle is towed. As recommended, a property owner can still complain after 24 hours, but the notice would say the vehicle owner has eight days to move the vehicle.
Commissioners delayed action until their February workshop for further consideration.