Avalon, NJ Changes Course Weeks After Previous Plans For 26th St
As Gene Hackman's character learned in the movie Welcome to Mooseport, small-town politics are an odd bird, to say the least. Just a couple weeks after the Borough of Avalon stated their plans to create more public parking, they have suddenly changed course.
At the most recent Avalon City Council meeting, one of the town citizens brought up a question about the city's plans for the lot where the old Schoolhouse was located on 26th Street. The original question was about how the town was going to make the public-own lot into a parking area without issuing a use variance for the property.
When answering the citizen's question, it was revealed that after a meeting the week before with the Mayor of Avalon and City Officials, they decided to no longer make that area a parking lot. There was no real explanation for what changed from the October 11th City Council meeting to now or what was discussed in this meeting that led them to change their plans.
The only specific details of the borough of Avalon's plans for the land where the old schoolhouse used to stand is for there to be "landscaping" put in place along with "buffering" to separate the public and private properties on 26th Street. City officials did say the lot can be used as an Overflow Lot for Public Events that would be determined on a case-by-case basis by the City Council.
While this whole situation may seem like an episode of Parks and Recreation where the Pawnee City Council members randomly change their minds and don't vote for Leslie Knope's proposals for frivolous reasons, the borough of Avalon may have come to this decision as a result of rectifying another issue.
During the same City Council Meeting, Avalon passed a new ordinance that puts new restrictions on the use of Municipal Parking Lots. There has been an ongoing problem with people using these parking lots for general use when they are supposed to be for city business and visitors to public buildings along with the Avalon Public Library. The new ordinance says that there is no overnight parking allowed on municipal lots from 10 pm to 8 am except for vehicles that have special parking permits.
So if we are to piece together both of these decisions by the City of Avalon concerning public parking, it appears the South Jersey Coastal Community is trying to eliminate any new free public parking areas. While towns like Ocean City and Sea Isle City have free public parking in some random areas of town, Avalon seems to not want to replicate the infrastructure practices of their Cape May County neighbors.
I had previously applauded Avalon for being proactive about the morphing summer parking situation that Jersey Shore towns face but now I retract my previous compliments. I understand that many South Jersey Coastal Communities make serious money from paid parking during the summer season, but the way towns like Stone Harbor have handled the different issues that arise is exasperating for those who live in Cape May County. Visiting the shore towns in the Summer for those of us who don't live on the islands anymore is challenging. Plus, the zealous nature of the virtual parking meter system is a pain for locals who live in town as well.
I have given out some ideas in the past for how we could make the parking situation better during the summer months, but I don't work for the government so what do I know, right?
Top 10 Things To Do This Off-Season in Cape May, NJ Area
Gallery Credit: Josh Hennig/Townsquare Media