ENGLEWOOD, Fla. - There's parking frustration at a popular beach, and Commissioners worry it could hurt tourism.
Relaxing days at Englewood Beach can often turn into frustration. "I first moved here, I wasn't even sure of the parking procedures," Robert Yokemick said. "They said there's a kiosk you have to go, and I got a ticket, I don't know how many years ago, for almost $70. I thought that was a bit excessive. Look at the place. $70 to park? Come on."
Beachgoers can buy a parking pass, or pay .75 cents an hour. No pass or parking ticket could mean a whopping $118 dollar fine. That's more than you'd pay for 2 annual passes. Not all tourists are completely familiar with the pay and display policy at Englewood Beach. Some have been so angry to come back tickets on their windshields, they've told Commissioners they're not coming back.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Charlotte County doesn't have its own ordinance when it comes to beach parking, so violators get the state fine. Since tourism drives the local economy, Commissioner Robert Skidmore asked the Sheriff's Office to only issue warnings until they've reached a solution.
"Times aren't good and Florida needs tourism so something like this is just a detriment to it I think," Steven Panas of Gulf Cove said.
"Sometimes you have to pay a price to enjoy what nature has to give," Maria Silva of North Port said. "If the problem is you don't want to chuck up a couple quarters, that's okay, go somewhere else."
Commissioners will consider new options to make parking both tourist and budget friendly. In the meantime, they are working to put better signage in place and allow parking passes to be sold at businesses closer to the beach.