NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. — Elite Management Services proposed to charge a Neptune Beach visitor $2.50 an hour or $35.00 a day. Residents of this area say they are upset with the idea.
"A family of five or six having to pay $35.00 to park for the day? I think that's an inconsideration," said resident J.T. Leachman.
Leachman lives along First and Bay streets and says there's no parking problem in his neighborhood.
Signs show where and when you can or can't park. A parking company wants to make some changes.
Elite Management Services made their proposal at a Neptune Beach city council meeting last week, which left council member Josh Messinger scratching his head.
"I just think it was fundamentally flawed," Messinger said. "I believe the quality of life would've been impacted negatively as it was presented, so I wasn't happy with that."
Messinger says that the city does not charge for parking, but many privately-owned properties charge people.
The pay-to-park system has been discussed for years on council, according to Messinger.
“We need to have a residential permit program and a residential only zone so residents don’t have to have their quality of life negatively impacted by the Beaches Town Center,” Messinger said.
“We have a great asset here, but we need to be cautious about how the residential and commercial area butt and how they interact,” he said.
Messinger mentioned that a pay-to-park system soon to be implemented in Jacksonville Beach could drive traffic north to Neptune Beach.
“All those individuals not looking to pay to park are going to utilize free parking, and right now that would be us,” Messinger said.
Elite Management’s plan did not specify which parking spots would be covered, only that it would cover areas between Florida Boulevard and Atlantic Boulevard, along 1st, 2nd and 3rd streets and reach residential areas.
Leachman feels street safety for pedestrians and vehicles is the main priority.
"You see bicyclists, skateboarders, baby carriages and this is a slow time, and if they're zooming in between cars I think it's an accident waiting to happen," he said.
A public meeting will be held Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at Neptune Beach City Hall to discuss the pay-to-park system.