County Moves Closer To Parking Fees At Public Boat Ramp

BERLIN – Plans to charge parking fees to out-of-state users at a Bishopville boat ramp are moving forward.

A pilot program that will charge parking fees to out-of-state vehicles at the Shell Mill boat ramp in Bishopville should be up and running within a few months, according to county officials.

“We’re likely going to implement it during the summer,” said Weston Young, Worcester County’s chief administrative officer.

In March, the Worcester County Commissioners agreed to create a program to charge out-of-state users a $10 daily parking fee at the Shell Mill boat ramp. County staff plan to use ParkMobile or a similar service to charge non-Maryland patrons $10 a day to park at the ramp. From each $10, the county would receive $9.15 in revenue.

The pilot program was created as a way to bring some order to the facility as well as a way to ensure out-of-state users are contributing something to the upkeep of the site.

“The big complaint there is the number of Delaware users,” Young said.

According to Commissioner Jim Bunting, who lives in Bishopville, the boat ramp is currently overused, particularly by people who live in nearby Delaware. This past weekend, for example, he said there were eight vehicles parked at the ramp. Six of them had Delaware tags.

“They don’t contribute to maintenance and they block it up for people in Worcester County,” he said.

During the summer, he said it’s not uncommon for vehicles to extend past the boat ramp’s parking lot, as boaters park along the shoulder of the road itself.

Bunting believes the array of new homes under construction in Sussex County will only exacerbate the problem.

“Delaware is allowing all these subdivisions a half mile outside of Bishopville,” he said.

Bunting said striping the parking lot at Shell Mill and instituting paid parking for out-of-state users would be a good test program for the county.

“I don’t know what the perfect solution is but we’ve got to start somewhere,” he said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.