Compo planners set aside controversial parking issue ... for now
Published 7:10 am, Thursday, April 24, 2014
It wasn't the standing-room-only crowd that turned out last week to oppose possible reconfiguration of parking at Compo Beach when the group planning the waterfront park's future reconvened Wednesday.
Nonetheless, several dozen residents did show up at the Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee meeting, many planning to speak on the parking issue and other proposed beach changes. The reconfiguration of parking, which has proved particularly controversial, has provoked critics to argue the redesign would severely restrict direct and easy access to the beach.
But they didn't get the chance to weigh in.
"Last week we got a lot of feedback on the parking," said Andy Moss, chairman of the committee working on a master plan for Compo. "We are not going to entertain anymore tonight."
He asked the audience to "please hold" their comments about parking along the beachfront. "We heard about the handicapped, elderly and people with kids" who want to preserve direct access to the beach, he said.
"We heard that and we don't need to revisit it," Moss said. "We will be moving on."
Moss proposed developing two variations of the master plan, in particular to deal with the parking issue, including one that will continue to allow direct access to the beach from parking spots. "We will have two variations on the theme," he said.
That, however, wasn't enough to satisfy some in the audience, with one resident yelling: "I thought from the last meeting you got the impression we want the parking to stay the same."
At that point, committee member Jennifer Johnson said: "I can't get a comment in edgewise. I would like the opportunity to ask a question (without being interrupted). This is the meeting for us to try to get a solution."
Moss told the audience that Wednesday's session was the committee's "work meeting" and that before any decision on parking, or other proposed changes, is made the issue will go to several town boards and commissions for approval, including the Representative Town Meeting, Board of Finance and Planning & Zoning Commission.
"This is our time to discuss what happened last week," he added.
Rumblings continued from the audience.
"This is a public meeting not a public hearing," said Stuart McCarthy, the parks and recreation director. "You can sit and listen to what's being discussed, but you are not welcome to give any public comment," he said. "This committee has work to do."
McCarthy added that committee members "understand what the problems are and will come up with a solution."
The audience became quiet and committee members went on to discuss a variety of other issues, including drop-off points, seasonal parking, bathrooms, parking stickers and aesthetics.
Last week, Moss said the master plan would take into account the entire beach area and that 97 percent of that area wouldn't be changed.
People who want to stay updated on the committee's work can visit its website: www.CompoBeach2.com