ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - The city of Atlantic Beach passed an ordinance Monday night to allow metered parking at the Beaches Town Center, a popular spot to eat and shop. Supporters said it will benefit local businesses by creating more turnover with the parking spaces.
"It's bad for everybody," said Ross Weeks, a 40-plus year resident of Atlantic Beach.
He spoke out against the now-passed ordinance to the Atlantic Beach City Commission.
"To make me have to pay in addition to my taxes to go eat at a restaurant or go down to the beach and park, I think that's wrong," Weeks said.
Neptune Beach recently made the decision to bring in the metered parking in the area, but their residents can still park for free elsewhere.
With Atlantic Beach's limited spots, there's concern residents won't have that luxury.
Neighbors like Ross also believe people will park in neighborhoods for free to avoid paying.
"I see these people parking that residents can't even get in their own place to park in front of their house," Ross said.
The commission's lone ‘no' vote, Cindy Anderson, said this ordinance leaves the door open for more metered spaces to go up all over town, specifically the beach access points.
While commissioner Brittany Norris voted "yes", said those are separate issues to be dealt with down the line.
"I am nowhere near wanting to even bring that into the conversation," Norris said.
Action News Jax had questions for Norris about how the meter money will be spent.
"The revenue brought in from this program will pay for the program," Norris said. "If there's any extra, we've also tossed around the idea that we should have a parking officer for the city."
The commission added a provision Monday that people with handicapped tags can park in any spot for up to four hours for free.
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