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Scanlon: Property owners, residents exempt from fee

Dan Scanlon.JPG.JPG

Currituck Manager Dan Scanlon

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

CURRITUCK — Currituck County residents and property owners will be exempt from beach-parking fees the county plans to impose in the county’s off-road area, the county manager says.

County Manager Dan Scanlon clarified Monday that if someone either has a vehicle registered in the county or owns property in Currituck, they'll be exempt from paying a fee to park on the county’s northern beaches.

Scanlon was responding to a newspaper story published Monday that reported commissioners gave him the go-ahead at their annual retreat last month to craft an ordinance that imposes fees on those who park vehicles in the county’s northern beach areas. Commissioners informally agreed to set a $50 fee for a 10-day parking pass and a $150 fee for a year-long parking pass, and to have the fees take effect May 1. 

During the retreat, commissioners’ focus was on beach-goers they referred to as day-trippers. Their directive to Scanlon, however, didn't outline specific groups who would be exempt from paying the fees or make clear exemptions would be made for county taxpayers.

Scanlon said Monday the main point of commissioners’ discussion about imposing beach-parking fees "was to address those that we welcome to our beaches that perhaps don't, on a regular basis, contribute to the local economy."

Scanlon told commissioners his understanding from them was that "much like our current ATV (all-terrain vehicle) permits, if you have a vehicle registered in Currituck County or you are a property owner in Currituck County, there will not be a fee assessed against you or your property for the ability to park and use the beaches."

Commissioner Bob White, who represents the county’s Outer Banks, said Tuesday that Currituck residents and property owners who want to park on the beaches will still have to get a parking permit by May 1. They just won’t have to pay the fees that will be required of non-residents and non-property owners, he said.

Residents and property owners won’t be charged the fee because “it’s their beach,” White said. They will still have to have a parking pass, however, because Currituck deputies will be checking all vehicles parked on the beach to ensure compliance with the new ordinance.

“If they come out and park and they have their placard hanging in their rear-view mirror, they're good to go,” he said.

Commissioners said at the retreat that beach-parking passes will be made available at the county’s visitor centers in Corolla and Moyock.

Scanlon said Monday county staff are in the process of writing language for the beach-parking fee ordinance for commissioners' consideration at their next meeting.

Commissioners’ decision to impose beach-parking fees arose out of concerns about increased traffic volume in the county’s off-road area. The decision also comes a few months after a divided board voted to ban driving on a specific section of the beaches’ foreshore roughly six months of the year.

The ban applies to the foreshore starting a mile and a half north of the North Beach Ramp at Milepost 13 and ending at Albatross Lane at Milepost 17. The change will be in effect daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

During that time, beach motorists will be restricted to driving on the upper sands close to the dunes.

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