Could price of parking double? Carolina Beach leaders talk about future of parking

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The tourist season is almost here, but could you see some changes this year in Carolina Beach?

At a Carolina Beach Town Council workshop, leaders talked about possibly doubling the price of parking on part of island.

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“Everybody complains about the price of parking already because they just went up, I feel like,” Beach Bumz bartender Marian Canady said.

That price could go up again. A number of people were not so happy about the possible change.

“We don’t want to run tourists off,” Canady said. “If the rates are too high, they’re not going to come, and that’s losing business for all of us.”

Tourists like John Owen say paying $5 to park for one hour could cost the island his business.

“It would be a consideration for me,” Owen said. “Again, I know maybe some people would think $5 is not that much to park.”

Councilman Lynn Barbee says they talked about a staggered approach. This means possibly doubling the price of public lots closer to the strand from $2.50 to $5 an hour. Lots further away would remain $2.50 an hour.

Canady says she worries they would lose a lot of their business because people would be less likely to pay a higher price.

“They fuss a lot about it anyways, and not being able to find good parking spots,” Canady said. “It’s a big complaint, especially in the summer time.”

Barbee says the idea is to save spaces for day-long visitors, instead of people coming for an hour or two. Prices would also be capped at $20 for the day.

Owen says the prices already are a concern.

“My personal opinion is you should not have to pay to park to go to a beach to a tourist area where I’m going to be spending my money already,” Owen said.

Barbee says they did not talk about changing the price of metered spots, but the idea of an increase still leaves businesses worried.

“That we would lose customers,” Canady said. “Lose tourists, lose customers, revenue for the whole island.”

No decisions were made at this town council workshop. Town staff will have a chance to present proposals at its meeting in March.

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