HOLMES BEACH -- City leaders in Holmes Beach want to ban public parking on residential streets, but the move could cause huge problems for Manatee County.
Leaders were given money to refurbish the area, thanks to all of those free parking spots.
Holmes Beach resident Michael Kelly said he has had enough of the disrespect from tourists parking in front of his home.
“We go out in the mornings after a weekend and we will find debris all over the place," said Kelly. "Whisky bottles, liquor bottles. I’ve picked up dirty diapers out here.”
Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson, along with city commissioners, have heard the pleas from Michael and other residents to do something about tourists taking over residential streets. So now, they are discussing the possibility of restricting public parking on residential streets.
“Right now the issue is, is there any way to moderate some of the impact over time of the volume that’s here?,” said Johnson.
While restricting residential streets from public parking may sound like a good idea for residents, the county wants to make sure the city knows what it’s doing. If the city does not have enough public parking spaces, it could end up costing the city millions of dollars, said Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker.
“Reduction of those numbers of spaces could seriously jeopardize Manatee Counties entire beach renourishment program, and have millions of dollars of impact,” said Hunsicker.
According Hunsicker, one of the reasons the county received millions of dollars in funding for the beach renourishment was due to the amount of public parking opportunities on Anna Maria Island. Residential street parking was counted in the parking equation.
“If we change our parking accessibility now, within months of renourishing our beaches for over $6 million in state grants, we could be in serious trouble, and asked to repay those grants.”
Johnson said he is aware of that possibility and will work with the county to make sure the city still has enough public parking.
“Whatever we do will not impact the cities position and the counties position with regard to our ability to get funds for beach renourishment,” Johnson said.
Holmes Beach commissioners will hold another work session this month to discuss public parking. Manatee County will also be working with the city to make sure that they come up with a solution that will not affect the renourishment project.