Why Beach Parking Space Changes Were Made
You asked why leased spaces are shifting, so we found out for you as part of the revamped Question of the Week.
As a part of the new Question of the Week, Patch Editor Kyle Stucker will select each week one poignant question or concern posed by a resident and dive into a special investigation of the issue. This article is the product of a question from Amy Kane about changes at North Hampton State Beach.
The state of New Hampshire has changed the location of North Hampton State Beach's 20 resident leased parking spaces as part of an effort to limit the impact caused by two bathhouse construction projects beginning in the near future.
Work will soon begin to connect the bathrooms to the Hampton sewer system and fully reconstruct the bathhouse itself, and Town Administrator Steve Fournier said that state-controlled and state-managed projects are expected to temporarily close off an undetermined number of parking spaces next to the building.
The leased spaces traditionally were placed each summer at the southern end of the parking lot adjacent to the bathhouse, although Fournier said he recently worked with the state to shift the leased spaces to the north end of the lot in order to ensure residents aren't displaced by the construction as well as ensure proper enforcement of the leased lots.
"The state called me up and said they wanted to move the spots [because of the construction]," said Fournier. "The options were to try and have them at the north end of the lot or in the middle, but having them in the middle would be a nightmare to enforce 'no parking' versus trying to segregate them at the north end.
"One thing I've heard many times with the location of the leased parking spaces and their relationship to businesses in the area is that non-residents just parked in the spots and ignored the leased signs. Hopefully this will separate the resident parking more from the public parking."
The parking lot and beach is owned by the state, and Fournier said the town only has the authority to enforce parking violations and offer the leased spaces to North Hampton residents.
Fournier said the decision to move the spaces is ultimately a state-level decision, although he appreciated having input in the construction process, which he said residents should know will have more positives than negatives in the long run.
"People need to realize that there will be major construction happening for the next two years at that beach," he said. "While it’s going to be putting people out, ultimately it’s going be better for everybody... I think people need to be patient and just need to know it’s going to be great project at the end. It's going to make some changes, but they're going to be beneficial for residents and non-residents."
Some of those changes have already taken effect, including the placement of temporary portable toilets on the north end of the parking lot, which is a "pay-and-display" lot.
Three handicap-accessible parking spaces were also placed next to the portable toilets. These spaces used to be located next to the bathhouse, although Fournier said they were moved to the other end of the lot so they aren't impact by the construction.
Fournier said the state will remove the portable toilets at some point in June after the sewer connection is made, after which the toilets within the bathhouse will be operational.
However, the bathhouse toilets will be offline again when the building reconstruction begins after the season is over. Fournier said the portable toilets will then return while the new facility is constructed.
More details about the construction timeline can be found here.
The state is currently in the process of fully opening the beach for the season, and the leased parking spaces' signs have just recently come out, said Fournier. Other tasks like bringing additional trash cans and posting appropriate will likely be completed in the upcoming weeks.
A map of the location of the leased spaces and additional information about the change will soon be posted on the homepage of the town's website.