Fenwick Council OKs New Parking Permit Fee Schedule

FENWICK ISLAND – At last Friday’s Fenwick Island Town Council meeting, changes were approved to the town’s parking permit fees, the farmers’ market, licensing taxi vehicles and policies on anchoring free-standing structures.

Parking Permit Fees

Town Manager Merritt Burke presented the Fiscal Year 2014 Fee Schedule to amend the town’s parking permit fees.

This year there will be a $10 daily parking permit for all-day parking and the weekend permit was eliminated. The weekly permit will be $60, the monthly permit fee was reduced to $150 and the summer permit fee was reduced to $300. There will be a $50 fee for an additional resident hang tag and $50 for a resident merchant employee permit, which was a recommendation passed forward by the Parking Committee so that business owners can purchase a permit for employees that can park on the bayside where there is 150 available parking places, and $50 replacement for lost permit.

The Town Council voted unanimously to approve the amendment.

Taxi Licensing

Council Treasurer Gardner Bunting, who serves on the parking committee, brought forward a committee discussion that deliberated on licensing transport vehicles, more specifically taxis, in Fenwick Island.

“We have a number of taxi services that are operating in Town for public transportation, and the thought is we want to know who is working in Town,” Bunting said. “In other communities, they license the companies and charge a rate. I don’t know if we have to do that but I do think we need to know who is operating in the community.”

Councilman William Weistling pointed to neighboring resort of Ocean City, which operates a taxi medallion system that regulates the number of taxis that operate in Ocean City, as well requires an annual $1,500 fee per taxi.

“If you charge a license fee, I don’t think you are going to get taxis coming into this town,” Weistling said.

The Parking Committee was tasked with researching the matter further to provide the council with additional information for further discussion.

Anchoring Requirements

Currently, Fenwick Island code states, “All free structures, including but not limited to boardwalks, propane tanks, ground level decks, sheds and trash enclosures, must be either properly anchored using an auger type anchor a minimum of two feet in the ground, or an anchor system design approved by the Building Official…Effective date for proper anchoring of free-standing structures as indicated above shall be no later than June 1, 2014.”

The ordinance was passed in April of last year following Hurricane Sandy when hazardous objects, such as docks and boardwalks, washed ashore onto neighboring properties.

“The Charter & Ordinance Committee at the last meeting recommended that we eliminate the anchoring of everything except the propane tanks. The feeling was it is too difficult to itemize all the items that are potential hazards,” Weistling said, who serves on the charter committee.

Weistling also asked the council to consider having only new construction be required to anchor free-standing structures.

The council was in consensus with the direction of the committee and tasked the group to re-write the ordinance, as well as define free-standing structure.

Farmers’ Market

Weistling pointed out the current location of the Fenwick Island Farmers’ Market is for sale. The market has operated during the summer months in the PNC Bank lot on Coastal Highway and East Essex St.

Fenwick Island’s code currently states, “Farmers markets will be only permitted on vacant, unimproved lots, which shall be at least 100 feet in size, either individually or combined, in the Commercial Zone in Town.”

The Charter & Ordinance Committee proposed changing the word “unimproved” to “improved.”

“The way the farmers’ market is written in the current ordinance is it can only be placed on unimproved lots. There aren’t too many unimproved lots left in town, and the current lot the Farmers’ Market is held is up for sale,” Weistling said. “In summary we want to remove the word unimproved, so if the farmers’ market has to be relocated in the future there is a possibility it could still be placed in town. The farmers’ market has become successful and very popular with the people so I think it is a good idea.”

Without discussion, the Town Council voted unanimously to approve the amendment.