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To: Town of Camden & Camden Select Board

Camden's Public Landing - A Public Space, Not a Revenue Source

Dear Town of Camden and Town of Camden Select Board

It has become increasingly apparent that the parking policies enforced at Camden's Public Landing are more focused on generating revenue than serving the public's best interests. The current system disregards the needs and livelihoods of residents and workers who contribute to our town's charm and viability, especially during the off-peak months.

The Public Landing is named for its intended purpose - a space for public use. However, the stringent enforcement of parking fees, often amounting to high fines for slight overtimes, have made this space less accessible to the very public it is supposed to serve. From the perspective of local workers and residents, the parking situation feels punitive rather than protective of their interests.

For example, during the off-peak months, when workers are busily preparing for or wrapping up the tourist season, the Public Landing's parking fees and strict time regulations often create a logistical and financial hardship. This is felt keenly by those who must park, run errands, and often return to find the lot fully occupied or risk being ticketed for overstaying a mere few minutes past the enforced time limit.

The consequence of this is a financial toll that many residents and workers struggle to bear, along with the inconvenience and stress of scrambling for parking in a town that should be serving them just as they serve the town. A review of the parking enforcement measures seems not only fair but necessary.

To this end, we are proposing changes to the current parking regulations:

1. Change the Parking Enforcement Season: We propose to shorten the parking enforcement season to July 1st through August 30th, coinciding with the peak tourist season. During off-peak months, residents and workers should be able to park without paying fees or worrying about time limits.

2. Adjust the Parking Enforcement Hours: We suggest limiting parking enforcement to between 11 am and 4 pm. This provides much-needed flexibility for local workers and residents needing access to parking spaces in the early morning and late afternoon hours.

3. Removal of Paid Parking System: We advocate for the removal of the paid parking system, replacing it with a more equitable two-hour parking rule. This will help preserve the public use of the landing, while still maintaining order and turnover in the parking lot.

4. Amend Parking Code for Over Limit Parking: We propose an amendment to the parking code that prevents parking tickets from being issued for over-limit parking if there are other vacant spots in the lot or on the street. This would protect residents and workers from unnecessary fines when parking is available.

5. Refund of Parking Fees and Fines: We are seeking a provision for the town to refund all parking fees and fines collected from the harbor parking lot from its inception to date. This would help to rebuild trust in the town's commitment to its residents and workers, rather than focusing solely on revenue generation.

Why is this important?

We believe that these changes will significantly reduce the financial burden on residents and workers while still ensuring that the town has sufficient resources during the peak tourist season. It is time to reclaim the spirit of "Public" in our Public Landing and reaffirm its role as a community space that is accessible and welcoming to all.


2023-07-05 00:06:48 -0400

10 signatures reached