Published On: Thu, May 6th, 2010

Hey, buddy, can you spare a dime? Parking meters coming to Boca

BOCA RATON – Motorists heading to downtown Boca Raton or the city’s beach will soon have to cough up some cash to stash their car.

Parking meters – normally the bane of consumers who find themselves rummaging around in their car looking for a quarter or a dime – are coming to Boca’s center city.

Just where the meters will be located, what they will look like, how much they will cost and how much it drivers can be fined if they run past the time allowed, have yet to be determined, Assistant City Manager Mike Woika recently told the City Council at a public hearing.

No one spoke for or against the ordinance – amended twice – to create “a framework for metered parking within the city of Boca Raton.”  But Councilman Anthony Majhess did vote against the proposal.

Woika said the meters will not only be a source of revenue for the cash-strapped city, but will also encourage turnover in the downtown.  And that, he said, could help merchants.

In a memo to the council, City Manager Leif Ahnell said that a study was completed last year by a parking consultant working for the city.  “The study inventoried the parking spaces within the city,” he said. “Based on observations and some assumptions, the study noted that the income from a few areas in the city could total between $700,000 and $800,000 on an annual basis.”

Both Ahnell and Woika said the ordinance only sets the “framework” for metered parking. “It should be noted,” said Ahnell, “that this ordinance does not establish the areas for metered parking, not does it set the parking meter rates.”

“We will be back with resolutions to outline these areas,” Woika said.  He also noted that the new law “revamps sections of the parking code, provides new definitions, offers new regulations and discusses citations and violations.”

The ordinance does say parking tickets must be paid within 15 days.  If a motorist has three or more unpaid tickets, his or her car may be towed or fitted with an immobilization device, commonly called a “boot.”

Councilman Mike Mullaugh made the motion to adopt the parking meter ordinance and Mayor Susan Whelchel seconded it.  There was no discussion among council members before the vote was taken.

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