ORLEANS – Carl Trevison lives on Doane Road within walking distance of a town landing. It sounds convenient, but he’s not the only one who knows about it.
“In the summer, most parking is from out-of-state or Eastham, Brewster, or Harwich,” he told selectmen Dec. 3. “There’s as much as 50 parked cars in this area. Access to the landing is rendered impossible because of the vehicles. You cannot get down there if you have a mooring permit or a recreational shellfishing permit.”
Non-residents, he said, “predominantly young people,” can walk over to Nauset Beach and avoid the parking charges there. “Our taxpayers are denied revenue from the Nauset Beach parking area.”
“What we saw on Doane Road this summer is unacceptable,” Police Chief Scott MacDonald said before making recommendations with Natural Resources Manager Nate Sears for enforcement changes there and at Priscilla Landing.
The town has already had some success doing that elsewhere. “Currently, the board is testing and evaluating resident parking-only on Cove Road and River Road in specific posted locations,” the chief said. “Nate and I both feel this is working out very well. From June 15 to Sept. 15, it’s resident parking-only in specific areas. Our recommendation is that we extend that to Doane Road and Priscilla landings.”
“As far as River Road and Cove Road, in my mind, problems solved,” Sears said. “If you ask us where our phones are ringing, it’s Doane Road and Priscilla Landing (calling for) more parking for residents. We’re not getting much feedback from the public regarding other landings.”
Doane Road has two water access points, a circular turnout for vehicles and an area at the end of the road. “For that parking area on the left, we’d like to see a sign there from June 15 to Sept. 15 for resident parking only,” Sears said, “then dress the end of the road with temporary emergency signs for the peak of the season. We want to leave some parking for non-residential shellfishing.”
The board can formalize its seasonal arrangement at Cove and River road landings and add restrictions at Doane and Priscilla through a public hearing, Town Administrator John Kelly advised. “You can do this over the winter and have signs posted in the spring.”
Selectman David Currier offered a caution. “It’s a value to this town for non-residents to be able to find parking in our town. They visit businesses. There should be some parking for them, too, whether they pay for it (or not).”
“We’ve had really good balance over the years, not getting in there and ticketing,” MacDonald said. “We’re just trying to have a fair balance between resident use and non-resident use. These recommendations are achieving that balance, focusing on residents but leaving some additional space.”
Town and Cove roads “were just out of control,” Selectman Chairman Mark Mathison said. “It was extremely difficult for people living on those roads to access their homes.” Seasonal posting for resident-only parking “has proven to be very, very effective,” he said. Although it’s important for residents and businesses to have access, he added, “it doesn’t mean you can park on somebody’s front lawn. That needs to stop.”
The selectmen continued their conversation about business uses of town landings, including those that advertise parking there on their websites. “Maybe the first step,” Sears said, “is a license with no stipulations, just to identify what businesses are operating on our landings. Then we can have the conversation about where they’re bringing their passengers from. All these operations have been going on for years.”
“We really need an inventory,” Kelly said. “Nate and I will see what we can come up with and come back with a recommendation. We’ll talk with town counsel about a license and use that as a starting point.”
Sears and DPW Director Tom Daley were scheduled to talk about “cost drivers and challenges” related to town landings and beaches with the finance committee tonight (Dec. 12) at 6.