Boothbay Harbor Selectmen

Parking problems

Wed, 03/27/2013 - 6:30pm

    Every summer in downtown Boothbay Harbor, parking can be problematic at best and sometimes it can seem impossible. Though paid parking lots do exist at the footbridge and the town hall, as well as several private lots, these are often not well-marked and can seem expensive to visitors.

    Free parking exists along Oak Street and Townsend Avenue, but those spaces have 2 and 4-hour limits that give insufficient time for visitors to shop and eat – and certainly do not give adequate time to take many of the longer boat trips.

    Frank Fassett of Boothbay Harbor brought an idea up in February during a selectmen’s meeting: perhaps Boothbay Harbor could institute a new rule where a person’s first parking offense would be forgiven. A ticket would be issued, but it wouldn’t cost the offender anything.

    At the March 25 selectmen’s meeting, Board Chairman Bill Hamblen said he had spoken with Town Manager Tom Woodin and Police Chief Bob Hasch, but neither were in favor of the idea.

    Hamblen stated that the possibility of instituting such a policy had been explored before, but was deemed too expensive.

    “The idea, while a good one, is not suited to the harbor,” Hamblen said.

    The other selectmen all agreed, although Valerie Young thought the idea should be kept in reserve for the future (if the costs of necessary technology should drop significantly).

    “I visited Portland, and my first parking ticket was forgiven, and I thought how nice that was,” Young said. Hamblen mentioned that Portland has apparently discontinued that program due to cost.

    Hamblen also mentioned that since Hasch had been hired, the number of complaints regarding tickets had dropped significantly.

    “We now get more compliments than complaints about ticketing practices in the harbor. That’s very impressive,” Hamblen said.

    During a public forum, business owner Sewall Maddocks said that although summer parking enforcement was excellent, during the winter months the rules went largely ignored.

    “Between Columbus Day and Memorial Day, daytime enforcement is nearly nonexistent. I see employees and business owners parking in front of their stores all day long. I see elderly drivers drive around looking for a spot and then leave because they can’t find one,” Maddocks said. Maddocks owns Janson’s Clothing store in Boothbay Harbor.

    Hamblen said the selectmen would look into this issue.

    Katrina Clark can be reached at 207-633-4620 or Follow her on Twitter: @BBRegisterClark or on Facebook at