The new White Horse Beach Parking Committee held its first meeting Monday night at the Simes House and it’s clear what its members, and those in the audience, want.
And don’t want.
The meeting began awkwardly, as members were reluctant to elect a chairman in the absence of Selectman Betty Cavacco, a member of the committee and the driving force behind its creation. The committee opted to put off electing officers. White Horse Beach resident Christine Bostek served as acting chair. Cavacco later posted on Facebook that she had been suffering an attack of vertigo, which lead to her absence.
With that, the committee plunged into a wide-ranging discussion of parking problems and solutions. Bostek relayed an e-mail from Cavacco suggesting some smaller streets allow parking on only one side. That idea got both support and opposition. Committee member Charlie O’Rourke argued it would be unfair to some homeowners, who would have trouble hosting guests. On the other hand, member Nancy Carini pointed out that two-sided parking could create a safety hazard, limiting traffic flow and making it difficult for emergency vehicles to maneuver. Alice Baker of the Manomet Village Steering Committee recommended doing a survey of the streets to know what parking was possible on each one.
O’Rourke also raised the idea of creating resident parking stickers, an idea considered in the past. In his view, that would limit outsiders from parking and using the beach. “The whole purpose is to get rid of the people who come to the beach all day and make a mess,” he said. Who should be allowed to park in the area was touched upon frequently during the discussion. Resident Kevin Doyle pointed out that most of the homes on the bayside have no parking. And, he added, newer and bigger homes are being built. Those people, and their renters, needed parking. Committee member Anna Fish questioned that assertion, saying that “just because they have more cars doesn’t mean we have the burden to provide parking.” Committee member Cheryl Damiano, who owns one of the sandlocked homes, noted that she, and many of her neighbors, pay for parking spaces.
Baker emphasized the need for more “signage, signage, signage, if you don’t have the signs, you don’t have the enforcement.” Many residents of Manomet Heights, Damiano said, had put up their own no parking signs. She, like Bostek, served on the previous White Horse Beach Parking Committee. Doyle was skeptical about how effective that would be. “The police will promise to show up, but…,” he said. Instead, Doyle suggested turning over parking enforcement to the Plymouth Growth and Development Commission, which oversees parking in Plymouth Center.
One idea that got little support from anyone in the room was to either build parking lots or allow property owners to charge people to park on their land. The fear, as Baker pointed out, was that adding parking would just encourage more people to come to the beach.