2007-01-04 / Letters to the Editor

No more access to the beach?

On Monday, Jan. 8, there will be a public hearing and vote on reducing access to the Jamestown Shores beach by eliminating parking on Seaside Drive and the boat launch area.

When the existing parking spaces are full, anyone who wants access to the area will be forced to find a parking space more than three football fields away or face parking fines issued from police surveillance activities.

This change to the parking ordinance has been initiated by a small group of Seaside Drive residents who are also members of the Jamestown Shores Association. Their efforts to keep out “the others” under the guise of representing the entire Shores community are clearly self-serving.

As a former president of the association, I can attest to the fact that most meetings are attended by no more than a dozen member families with the majority of them Seaside Drive homeowners. The total membership is a fraction of the 850 households that occupy the Shores. The 50-plus year history

of the association is admirable in the way it advocated for fair treatment from the town in acquiring public services. In recent years, however, it has become more focused on serving the interests of a handful of active members.

The new parking restrictions, for example, just happens to eliminate parking in front of the home and waterfront lot of the association’s president.

Not long ago, members who served on the Town’s Parking committee and live on Seaside Drive voted to give the lowest priority to maintenance of the nine, that’s right nine, “public” waterfront rights-of-way along Seaside Drive.

Most of these public rights-of-way are now in overgrown condition making them unrecognizable (I challenge anyone to identify more than two.). Once found, they are extremely hazardous to walk on. A few have been modified to appear to be the abutting property owner’s yard and driveway.

Consequently, the Jamestown Shores Beach is now the only easy to find and safe “public” right-of-way remaining in the area. After these new parking restrictions are approved more of our free access to the waterfront will be lost.

For what reasons, you ask? Mostly it’s all the usual “keep out the others” arguments like, “Those who come early get the choice parking spots and are not yearround residents,” and “They’re not even from Jamestown,” or “They don’t speak English.” Of course, there’s the always shocking, “They have dirty habits!”

Well, not one of those reasons come close to making me trade off my rights for free access to the waterfront. As far as “the others” using our beach and fishing peers, I say, if they’re good enough to work for landscaping companies, contractors, and other businesses that service our community, then they’re good enough to bring their families and fishing poles for a day at the shore.

As I think about the next summer with these new restrictions, I’m also concerned about the potential danger to a family that’s forced to walk 1,000 feet on Seaside Drive with their arms full of the stuff one takes to the beach, dodging speeding cars, trying to keep their children out of harms way because there are no sidewalks.

If you are a Shores resident and want more, not less, waterfront access, I urge you to attend the public hearing at the library, at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8 to speak against these parking restrictions. If you’re reading this and have a friend who lives in the Shores please give them a call to be sure they are aware of the public hearing date and time.

Once and for all, the Town Council needs to know that the interests of a handful of residents identified as the Jamestown Shores Association do not speak for all 850 Shores households.

Thank you, Sav Rebecchi,

Sail Street

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