Higgins Beach Association

Surge in new Scarborough apartments both welcomed and questioned

The town can absorb up to 865 housing units now in the works, officials say, but some residents are concerned about the impact.

Civic Committee Report 2016

Four members of the Civic Committee (Sue Naiden, Ed Blaise, Melissa Carifio and Glennis Chabot) along with HBA President Roger Chabot met with town manager Tom Hall, police chief Robbie Moulton and police officer Steve Thibodeau and town council chairman Bill Donovan on November 29 for a conversation about police presence at Higgins and the enforcement of current ordinances during summer 2016

PARKING ON BAYVIEW AVENUE:

• All agreed that the cadre of parking enforcers and reserve officers this year were an exceptional group of individuals who did a great job.

• There were no (or very few) complaints about inappropriate behavior on Bayview this summer, and no complaints about the sidewalk being blocked (by beach gear, surfboards, open car doors etc.)

• There was some discussion about the cost of the enforcement (roughly $40,000 offset by approx. $16,000 in ticket collections (final numbers to be provided by police dept). A discussion about who uses the spaces followed. Anecdotal observation indicates that 30 percent of users were out of state, but the current meter registers only license plate numbers, not the state in which the vehicle is registered. The police will look in to programming the meter so that the state can be entered in order to collect better data as to who is actually using the Bayview spaces.

• There was a loose hypothetical discussion about charging a fee for parking on Bayview. THERE IS NO CURRENT PLAN TO IMPLEMENT THIS. Discussion centered mostly around technology which would allow Scarborough residents to park free or at a reduced rate should a fee ever be imposed.

SURFING

• Discussion that number of summonses issued (3 in 2016) does not adequately reflect the number of ordinance violations. In order to keep future discussions data driven, police will investigate a method of collecting better data.

• Discussion of violations of ordinance (prohibiting surfing 11 – 5 during the summer months) and the difficulty of enforcing such an ordinance.

• Ideas to help in enforcing ordinance included a bullhorn or airhorn to signal that it is time to get out of the water, enlisting the help of local surfers (some of whom have complained that something needs to be done about surfers who are ignoring the current ordinance) and “green flagging” surfing on days when surfing is technically not allowed but would not be a practical problem (rainy days with good surf and no swimmers, for example). Police will discuss and decide what, if any, ideas they may implement.

DOGS

• Discussion that number of summonses issued (none in 2016) for violation of the animal control ordinance does not adequately reflect the number of ordinance violations. This is because there are many “contacts” with those violating the leash law or allowing dogs to enter the restricted area, but these contacts are educational and do not result in the issuance of a summons. In order to ensure that future conversations remain data driven, better data to track these contacts will be considered.

• Police to investigate how laws regarding service and emotional support dogs work with Scarborough leash laws and the protected plover areas and will provide that information to next year’s reserve officers and plover monitors.

RESERVE OFFICERS FOR 2017

• Higgins will have reserve officer coverage every day from May 1 thru Sept. 15 from 6:00 AM to late evening (around 9:30 PM). We will not have people hired specifically for parking enforcement this year. Parking enforcement will be the job of the reserve officer.

• Civic Committee members offered to help with Higgins Beach specific training (basic info like where the restricted area is etc.) Police were very receptive to this idea saying it is valuable training and saves the department both time and money.