When the previous Fort Myers Beach Town Council raised parking fees from $3.00 an hour to $5.00, both now Mayor Dan Allers and now Vice-Mayor Jim Atterholt were not happy about it. Neither were candidates Karen Woodson and John King. They are all now in a position to do something about it.
At the town’s Management & Planning meeting Thursday, Allers brought the price increase back up for discussion. He wants to see the price to park rolled back from $5 to $3 per hour. The town has already eliminated the two hour time limit, which was in place in areas like Old San Carlos and across from Lynn Hall Park by Times Square.
Allers also wants to see the cost of a ticket increased. Right now, if you park in a town spot and just don’t pay the meter, the most you’ll have to pay for a full day of parking is $35.00, the cost of a ticket. On Fort Myers Beach, especially during season, that’s a bargain. The new ticket price being tossed around was $150.00.
Vice Mayor Jim Atterholt suggested the town figure a way to configure its parking app to give people a 5-10 minute warning when their meter expires, “to give them time to get back to their cars.” Atterholt said he wants to give residents and visitors a “sense of hospitality, rather than this gatcha concept, this mentality that we’re out to get you.”
The app also allows you to add more money, without having to go back to your spot. You can do it right from the app, from wherever you are. And the app gives you a warning that you’re time is about to expire.
After a suggestion was made to reduce the fees to $3.00 for residents only and not visitors, another suggestion, which seemed to garner more support was to allow residents who have a $25 annual parking pass to park anywhere. Currently they are only permitted to park under the Matanzas Pass Bridge and in other locations which might require a longer walk.
Reducing the parking fee will be put on an upcoming agenda of the town council.
The council will also consider eliminating the $100 per bedroom fee on vacation rentals, also implemented by the last town council. Vice Mayor Atterholt said that increase was pushed through without any input from the community.