We need your help before the September 16 Town Council meeting…

hb-entrance-1

Protect Access to Higgins Beach!

Please join us in urging the Scarborough Maine Town Council to REJECT proposals that seek to limit the current 1-hour parking on Bayview Avenue at Higgins Beach to 30-minutes and potentially install metered parking at these last remaining FREE, beach-adjacent parking spots.

We are also asking the Council to SUPPORT Councilor St. Clair’s proposal that modifies 30-minute parking to 1-hour at all of Scarborough’s beachside parking spaces.

We encourage you to edit and sign the message below to the Council to include any personal connection you have to Higgins Beach, as well as how these bad proposals would negatively impact your use and enjoyment of this magnificent public resource, if passed.


Here’s a suggested draft of a letter to the Town Council members:

Dear Members of the Town Council:

I am writing to join Higgins For All in thanking the Council for its longstanding efforts to protect and enhance the public’s rights of access to all of Scarborough’s beaches, for all people.

I am also writing to express opposition to the amendment before you that would unnecessarily and significantly limit public access to Higgins Beach by reducing the current 1-hour parking along Bayview Avenue to 30-minutes.

This proposal would decrease short-term access for surfers, dog walkers, regional visitors, and persons who have mobility or respiratory challenges but no handicap parking permit, who cannot easily enjoy Higgins Beach in 30-minutes but can and do use the Bayview spots for one-hour parking.

Visitors from other states often arrive on weekends and thus are not always able to buy a beach pass, and may only want to stop briefly. These visits are good for our local economy and should be welcomed, not discouraged by a 30-minute parking limit.

One-hour parking IS short-term use at a beach; 30-minute parking is more akin to drop-off time than short-term use.

I urge you to vote against the 30-minute amendment and instead support the proposal Councilor St.Clair intends to introduce for consideration that would address the expressed interests of some Council members in providing regulatory consistency while maintaining 1-hour short-term use and free, non-metered, beach-adjacent parking access at Higgins Beach.

Maintaining the 1-hour parking additionally prevents further conflict with some property owners who are currently expressing issues with perceived morning noise, as a 30-minute time restriction would necessarily increase traffic and noise along Bayview Avenue.

In addition, having free, beach-adjacent parking is something many working families cherish for their short-term use of Scarborough beaches, and I hope you will hang onto it.

There are more effective ways to enforce parking regulations than by installing meters. Free meters provide the infrastructure that slides into future paid parking, which discriminates against financially insecure people and would take something special away from Higgins Beach.

Please consider instead instituting video surveillance of the Bayview parking spaces using the existing equipment already in place and asking the Police Department to randomly monitor the feed and ticket violators of any laws, including the parking regulations, by using license plate numbers for offender identification. This addresses a wider swath of concerns raised by our community than metered parking alone, without the hassle of installing meters across all beach parking in Scarborough to maintain consistency.

Thank you for your consideration.

Your constituent,

[add your name here]

NOTE: The email address that will reach all members of the Town Council is: scarboroughtowncouncil@googlegroups.com


And don’t forget the Town Council meeting on September 16…

hb-entrance-3aPlease attend the hearing and WEAR A BLUE SHIRT to demonstrate your support for public access! The hearing is Wednesday, September 16, at 7PM, at 259 US Route 1, Scarborough; early arrival is recommended to get a good seat.

Attendees are given the opportunity to address the Council for three minutes. Please consider speaking and letting the Council know you want them to protect public access to Higgins Beach!


Your voice matters! Thank you for helping to protect public access to Higgins Beach.

Please share this information with family, friends and neighbors.

Advertisements

Stop proposed Scarborough ordinance changes!

A small group of Higgins Beach property owners are advocating for restrictions on access to and the use of Higgins Beach.  They are behind proposed ordinance changes that would (1) eliminate parking at the 13 spaces on Bayview Avenue between 6am and 7am and (2) make it illegal to “change” in areas adjacent to the beach.  Both of these proposals are unnecessary, and neither responds to the alleged problems of excessive noise and public indecency.

Here are a few of the reasons these proposals do not make sense:

Proposal #1: Eliminate parking between 6am and 7am on Bayview Avenue:

• There is no significant noise at Higgins Beach between 6am and 7am related to the parking spaces. During all of 2014, there were no police reports of excessive noise at Higgins between 6am and 7am.

• Many Scarborough and other local residents have limited time to visit the beach before going to work. Eliminating that hour of parking will make it impossible for some people to enjoy the beach.

• A round trip walking to and from the Ocean Avenue parking lot takes 10 minutes or more, especially for older beach visitors. And for someone with a job to get to or other schedule limitations, those ten minutes can be enough to prevent a visit to the beach.

• Parking is currently prohibited on ALL Scarborough streets between 2am and 6am.  It doesn’t make sense to single out one small neighborhood for special treatment.

hb-banner hanging

Proposal #2: Enact new restrictions on changing:

Scarborough already has a clear and tough ordinance against public indecency.  It prohibits exposing one’s genitals, buttocks and, for women, breasts.

• The proposed ordinance is spectacularly vague. The Chief of Police has characterized it as “unenforceable.”  And our police officers have better things to do with their time than being modesty monitors.

• The new ordinance could well be subject to legal challenge. If challenged, the Town would incur legal costs in defending the ordinance.

• Changing into or out of a wetsuit using a towel for coverage has been a common and acceptable practice for years at Higgins Beach and other Scarborough beaches.  Most Scarborough beachgoers do not consider it to be immodest or objectionable behavior.

.
higgins-08-06-13-1614

In summary, there are currently no problems at Higgins Beach with respect to either excessive noise between 6am and 7am or public indecency.  The proposed ordinance changes are “solutions” to non-existent problems.  They will, however, discourage public access to Higgins Beach.  Please join the fight to stop these proposed ordinance changes!

What you can do to fight these proposed changes:

1.  Send an email members of the Scarborough Town Council. The following email address will reach all members of the Council:

scarboroughtowncouncil@googlegroups.com

2.  Sign the online petitionlink here. 

3. Write a Letter to the Editor to The Leader, Forecaster, Current or Portland Press Herald.

4. Visit Surfriders Foundation —  Maine Chapter’s Facebook page and keep up-to-date on the Higgins Beach access issue — link here.

5. Share this information with family, neighbors and friends!

More info and links coming soon!