Help! Help! The Parking is Awful
By Anne McKay Garris
The major topic when the Clearwater Beach Association board of directors met on Tuesday was, "What to do about the illegal and dangerous parking in the residential section of Clearwater Beach?"
Police Lieutenant Joe Young, leader of the Clearwater Beach division of the Clearwater Police Department, was on hand to participate in the discussion. Members of the CBA shared their experiences of the recent parking invasion on Clearwater Beach. Some described it as, "worse than ever before." Others told about cars parking on the lawns, destroying sprinklers, using lawns for bathrooms, and leaving all kinds of trash behind for homeowners to pick up. More seriously, there was a report of traffic hazards that made two-way streets into one-lane streets, with traffic coming from both directions and near misses of head-on collisions at the intersection of Bruce and Acacia Street.
Lt. Young told the board that the Police Department was working on putting no parking signs on one side of the streets in the north beach, to avoid the traffic hazards. The problem with this is that the no-parking signs apply to everyone, including guests of the property owners, or the property owners themselves, so the Board members were not sure this was the best solution.
One member suggested that the signs read, "Between Noon and 3:00 p.m.", since that is when the problem is most severe. Another suggested resident stickers, but Lt. Young replied that was not feasible.
Another commented that the problem is short term because there are only two more weeks for Spring Break. At the end of the discussion, CBA President Sue Johnson asked for volunteers to form a committee to study how bad the situation is and research how other communities have solved the problem.
Before Lieutenant Young left, members of the Board thanked him for all the ways he and his officers have tried to prevent problems during this crowded time on the Beach, with more patrol officers and other means. "I believe in the quality of life the people of this community should have," he replied.
President Sue Johnson reported that she had met with City Planning Director, Michael Delk. She reported that he had given the owner of 735 Eldorado permits to do short term rentals, but, she explained, he had done so only after they had presented all the documents required to prove that the property should be grandfathered as a short term rental use.
Ron Delp reported that the board of the Clearwater Coalition of Neighborhood Associations has also been meeting with Mr. Delk to urge him to stricter enforcement of the restrictions on building sizes and uses in the neighborhoods of the City. "And," added Mr. Delp, "we believe he is working very hard to improve things."
Bill Johnson accepted the responsibility of being the interim treasurer in the wake of the resignation of that job by long-term treasurer Dave Ramos. The Board was unanimous in their appreciation to Dave for the long and difficult six years he has spent, not only as treasurer, but also as an active and helpful member of the CBA.
Pat Power, chairman of the Friends of the Clearwater Beach Library and Recreation Center, asked that everyone view the streaming video of the most recent meeting of the Clearwater City Commission. "The report is that each department is asked to cut their budget by 5%," she said, "and this puts both our library and recreation center on the cutting block."
There was a celebration of the success of the recent Buried Treasures sale, co-sponsored by the CBA and the "Friends," putting money in the pot for more service to the Clearwater Beach Community.
Plans were also finalized for the annual spring picnic, to be held at Triangle Park on April 17th, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Everyone is asked to bring a small "dish." The picnic is for the members of the Beach Association and Beach residents or business people who wish to join. This is a good time and place to join the CBA for those who have been thinking about it, but not getting around to it. Membership dues are $25 a year. "And," says one long time member, "the benefits are priceless; having someone keeping a watch at City Hall on your behalf, making new friends in the neighborhood, finding an opportunity to be of service to your community, are only a few of the benefits of being members of CBA."
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