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VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance Thursday, Oct. 24 doubling the cost of parking permit fees issued to residents in the North Beach. The ordinance also reduces the length of the permit by one year.

The proposed fee to obtain a permit to exceed the two-hour parking limit in the North Beach area will be increased to $2 from $1. Although previous permits were good for two years, permits issued this year will be good until Dec. 31, 2020.

The changes may be temporary, however. The city is considering doing a full traffic study to investigate solutions to parking problems citywide.

The ordinance revision comes on the heels of a public meeting held with residents of the North Beach area on Saturday, Oct. 12. During the meeting, Commissioner Tim Kriebel and Police Chief Douglas Biagi requested input on the parking permits from residents, who determined that the lack of parking during the summer months is more of an “inconvenience” than a problem.

The ordinance presents only minor changes in the current parking permit program until more information about parking problems can be gathered, commissioners said.

Instead of eliminating the permits altogether, which was suggested during the North Beach meeting, the board agreed to hire a traffic consultant to do a complete study of parking issues across the city.

It will take about nine months to complete the study, Commissioner Lance Landgraf said, and include a review of parking issues during the 2020 summer season when thousands of part-time residents and visitors flock to the city. The study will also be able to determine the effects of the Ventnor Square Theater, which will open in January, he said.

Although there will be on-site parking in the rear of the Ventnor Avenue theater for about 18 vehicles, residents expect it will bring additional traffic and parking congestion to streets adjacent to the theater property.

“We want to hit all the seasons here,” Landgraf said. “If we get (the study) authorized in spring, they could start in spring, do it through summer and next fall, and then we can have a suggestion on what to do to make it better.”

Kriebel agreed the study would help avoid commissioners solving problems that may not exist.

“It will give us time to analyze it with empirical data after the theater is open,” Kriebel said. “I’d like to see what they have to say.”

Kriebel said the cost of the study would be “money well spent” because parking is one of the biggest issues facing the city.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Police Department, there are 650 parking spaces in the North Beach area, however, the city issued 6,630 parking permits this year at a cost of $1 each.

Any resident or employee of a local businesses is eligible to receive a parking permit, including residents of the city’s three high-rise buildings. The permit exempts holders from the two-hour parking limit that is imposed throughout the North Beach neighborhood.

The two-hour parking limits were first instituted many years ago when employees of the burgeoning Atlantic City casino industry parked their vehicles in the North Beach area to hop the Atlantic City Jitney to their jobs in the casinos. The jitney route ends at the city line at Jackson Avenue.

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