Stricter public parking rules in store

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Who doesn’t savor waterfront dining?

The mere thought of culinary delights a dozen feet from lapping waves embodies the epitome of relaxation and height of Longboat Key living. Unless, you happen to be the person who has to deal with the diner’s car parked in front of your house for several hours.

That is the omnipresent, historic issue heading to Town Hall in the form of new parking restrictions to deal with the Mar Vista Restaurant waterfront dining patrons and their vehicles in the Village of Longboat Key

The Longboat Commission will be voting on a second reading and if adopted, a final reading, of several changes including reducing the speed limit on Broadway from 25. to 20 mph.

The town will also prohibit parking within 50 feet of intersections on Broadway as well as parking on sections of Linley Street, Lois Avenue, Poinsettia Avenue and Russell Streets. The town has also amended the rules to prohibit all parking on the streets within the Village between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. The town is also prohibiting parking for periods of longer than three consecutive days, island-wide.

Lastly, the town will prohibit the use of public parking spaces by private valet operators. sThis would mean restaurants such as Mar Vista would have to valet park on their own property or where they have an agreement with a private property owner.

Town staff has summarized the changes and wrote that they are all in response to ongoing citizen concerns relative to both parking and safety.

Town Manager Tom Harmer wrote in a May 21 memo that Longbeach Village residents continued to advocate for the establishment of a resident-only permit program that would help regulate the entire neighborhood. Harmer said that staff recommends implementing the ordinance changes that will be considered at the regular meeting on Monday, June 3.

Staff recommends coordinating with both the residents and restaurant owners during the next busy season to measure the impact on both.

One request residents had made was to prohibit parking on the south side of Broadway between Palm Avenue and Longboat Drive South. Harmer said that he and staff are not recommending that change. He said that it could slow vehicular traffic and that “The provision of additional public parking in this location is a less impactful location due to the lack of development on properties adjacent to the street.” Harmer estimates that the additional signage will cost about $3,000.


History of problematic parking

Parking on Village streets has been a source of contention for residents as the Mar Vista Restaurant has had overflow parking from their parking lot onto the public streets. Mar Vista’s valet has had the ability to park cars on the public roadways once their parking lot is full. Residents in the Village are especially concerned as the Shore Restaurant is set to open next year, potentially causing more traffic and parking overflow.

The number of parking spaces currently at the Mar Vista is 28 and the seating accommodates 169 people. According to Planning and Zoning Director Allen Parsons, the hired valet service at the restaurant currently is able to double stack the vehicles in order to fit approximately 40 cars in the parking lot. After the parking lot is full, the valet then park cars on the public street.

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