A motion by Selectman John Reilly to extend, on a permanent basis throughout town, parking restrictions that benefit residents passed on a 3-2 vote by the Board of Selectmen this week. Additional information about where the restrictions would apply would be provided to residents.
Reilly’s motion also asked Town Manager Philip Lemnios and Police Chief John Dunn to report at a future meeting on the feasibility of providing resident parking stickers at no charge or at a break-even cost to the town.
Parking fees normally cover the cost of seasonal police officers. There would be a fee for visitor passes.
“This is about protecting residents’ quality of life,” Reilly said.
Board Chairwoman Jennifer Constable initially suggested that Reilly withdraw the motion pending a public forum on the issue and input from businesses to avoid any “unintended consequences.” She and fellow board member Donna Pursel voted “no” on the motion, citing the need for additional information.
Resident Susan Mann described unintended consequences she witnessed last summer. “There was a huge influx of Uber drivers dropping off people at all the beach streets [due to parking restrictions], with no restrooms or food available [for purchase],” she said. “This really clogged the roadways in the areas where the beach accesses are located.”
She suggested a potential Uber drop-off location near struggling businesses, the goal being to add to their customer base.
Summit Avenue resident Ann Murray commended the board for addressing this issue sooner rather than later. “Last spring, we were overrun with visitors coming here when they couldn’t go anywhere else” other than a beach because of the coronavirus, she said.
Murray also requested better enforcement in her neighborhood when visitors park in “residents only” areas.
Reilly made the motion during a follow-up discussion about parking restrictions that were implemented last spring after a huge influx of visitors to Hull on an especially mild weekend.
Additional restrictions were added heading into the busy summer season. The pandemic and the need for social distancing played into those decisions.