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Carolina Beach Refuses Waiver Of Parking Fees For Local Fundraiser

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council agreed to not waive parking fees for a local fundraiser at their October 1st special meeting.
Lisa Wilkins sent an email to Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin on September 26th. She wrote, "On October 6th we are hosting a fundraiser for Michael McGowan’s Cystic Fibrosis fund. We have sold 300 tickets and are doing a sunset cruise on the Winner Boat. We are asking the town to waive the parking fees for the event which will be at 5:30pm till 8:30pm on that Sunday evening. Thanking you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter."
Parvin responded, "This sounds like a great event that will be successful! Unfortunately, although we would like to, we can't waive parking. If we waive parking for your fundraiser then we would have to be consistent and waive it for everyone. Thank you for the note. Please let us know if we can help in another way."
The question was posted on the CBcandidates Facebook page and several people responded.
Carolina Beach Mayor Bob Lewis is seeking election as Mayor. He explained, "We have a special meeting of council and we can discuss this on Tuesday, but we have waived parking for things like the beach sweep so I am not sure why we could not work out something for this event especially since it is the off season."
Candidate for Town Council Gary Doetsch explained, "I would hope this could be decided on a case by case basis during our off season."
Candidate for Council Mike Worley explained, "In my opinion, the town should donate the parking. Given the fact that it's on a Sunday afternoon during the "off season" and most people like myself who are attending already have parking passes."
Candidate for Mayor Dan Wilcox explained, "I’m disappointed to hear this, and also a bit confused. Perhaps there’s a prohibitive ordinance I’m unaware of, but if so, why do I recall numerous events where parking has been waived? For instance, every year we shut down an entire parking lot for the Got Em’ On Club. We also shut down Cape Fear Blvd this past year for the Street Arts Festival, and as I recall, in the past we did the same for the East Coast Surf tournaments, the Wing Fling, and several other events. So, I’m perplexed as to how we can justify shutting down entire parking lots and parking areas, for an entire day for some events, but we can’t waive 30 minutes of meter time for something as worthy as Michael McGowan’s fund raiser - and they aren’t even asking the parking be shut down, just that the fee be waived for the participants of the event for that short period. When we lose the willingness to work with our local charities and organizations that directly and positively impact our citizens, then perhaps we need to re-prioritize? I support our local organizations, including the Michael McGowan foundation, and if the town is unwilling to reconsider this request, I will personally donate an amount equal to what the town feels they will be losing as a result of this requested waiver. I don’t do this because of my campaign, I do this because I support and believe in our local non-profits and charities, and I truly feel they are the heart of our community."
Bruce Holsten responded, "I'll also 'chip in' to help pay for any lost revenue by the town. As a former Chamber leader, we always received help and support on these types of issues for our events from past councils. If this is helping save money for the town, I guess it really is more about the precedent instead of helping good Island folks and worthy causes."
Local resident Rob Pomeranz explained, "Yes they should waive the parking. It's a local fundraiser for a great cause and it is a Sunday evening. [They]do other things for groups that don't have a connection to Pleasure Island."
Local resident Stephanie Bennett explained, "Question... Are people going to have to pay to park to watch dragon boat regatta or since it’s a town event is it going to be waived? What ever happened to the community in which we live, where we all supported each other in fundraising and just generally helping each other out. Guess those days are gone? It's a shame it's gotten to be like this."
During the Council's Monday October 1st, Special meeting at 4PM at Town Hall, Mayor Bob Lewis said, "They were asking if we could waive parking between 5:30 to 7:00PM. Seems like we've waived parking before.  We did the beach sweep... there was a waiver of parking in certain areas."
Parvin explained, "There are events that we have that parking is waived as part
of an organized event. Typically for a private fundraisers, that's not an organized event. You haven't but you can if you want to. You need to make a motion."
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said when events such as Wing Fling or the Got-Em-On Live Bait Club fishing tournament occupy public parking areas the Town doesn't lose the revenue because people park elsewhere and pay for parking.
Brenda Butler is in charge of event permitting for the Town and said, "We’ve never given all parking free. We might give four or five spaces or one row of parking, but we do not give away a whole events parking."
Steve said, "It didn't come to council and it just ended up as an email that got Facebook posted."
Parvin explained, "It's a fundraiser they want to do. It's a private thing. They are going out on the Winner Boats. Just like anybody else. My concern would be setting a precedent. We need to have a policy of what types of fundraisers that would apply to because anybody could have a fundraiser at anytime and you could really open yourself up."
Parvin explained, "You need to be consistent."
Councilman Tom Bridges said, "I agree with that. If we don't have a precedent before we don't need to start now."
Sarah Friede said, "Parking is free after 7PM."
Lewis explained, "Out of 300 people that bought tickets there will probably be 70 cars that don't have a pass."
Lewis estimated it would be around $150.00 at $2.25 for approximately 70 cars.
Friede said, "I have some concerns about the precedent we are setting and this is not an event, a Town event that went through Brenda or the Arts and Activities Committee. This isn't a parking lot we are closing or staging area which is what we do for some of these other things. And I think its really difficult for
us as a Town to say yes we like you, we'll do it for you, but we don't want to do it for whomever else comes and asks. I don't know that you can do that in all fairness."
Bridges explained, "It may not be much money now, but if you set a precedent, who are you going to turn down. Eventually it’s going to accumulate to a pretty good point."
Friede said, "They're not even events, we don't really know anything about them. How far are we going to have staff dig in to what's going on?" and, "I'm for not to start doing that."
Public parking is free from November 1st to March 31st.