New Hampshire

Keep Parking Open for ALL in Rye, NH!

Active | November 05 2018

Beach Access

The Surfrider New Hampshire Chapter is working with local residents in the beautiful beach community of Rye to preserve coastal parking access on adjacent roadways for all beach users, not just residents of the town.

UPDATE

The chapter is working with Rye residents to advance a Warrant Article at Town Meeting 2020 to help preserve and protect the integrity of public beach access in Rye, including by preserving parking access.

Meanwhile, an opposing Article has been presented aimed at privatizing parking along certain roads. 

Rye residents and ocean lovers who enjoy Rye's lovely stretch of coastline are urged to contact the NH Chapter for ways to engage in this campaign: chair@nh.surfrider.org.

HISTORIC ACCOUNT

Local Rye residents informed the Surfrider NH Chapter that Perkins Road residents were petitioning to make their road resident parking by permit only from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Residents cited “traffic concerns and safety around Perkins Rd and Rt 1A/Ocean Blvd, congestion on Perkins Rd," with an additional resident claiming, "we just don’t want as many people at our beaches.’”

Public beach advocates in Rye cited a Parking Assessment conducted by Tighe & Bond, Inc.in 2015, the findings of which determined that there is currently an appropriate number of resident parking spots for the Rye population, and that there is not a history of traffic related incidents on Perkins Road that would justify a parking restriction to prohibit public access to beach adjacent parking. 

Given that there is no substantiating evidence to warrant a restriction, access to the ocean and beach-adjacent parking should be available for all of the public, and that there are multiple residents on Old Beach and Cable roads in Rye who are watching this issue and, if passes, will also ask for resident permit parking along these roadways, on January 19. 2019, the Surfrider NH Chapter wrote a letter of opposition to the proposal to the Rye Beach Committee to help inform their work session that same day. 

In its letter the Surfrider Foundation New Hampshire Chapter specifically noted:

-          beach access should be for all, resident and non-resident, and is essential to coastal living. We believe strongly that if we continue to limit access to the coast that will never get it back. We must protect our natural resources wisely and make them accessible for all, both for in-town and out-of-town visitors.

-          making Perkins Rd resident-only in the summer season will not alleviate any of the current concerns some citizens have in regards to: traffic flow, congestion, and litter, and

-          excerpts from the Tighe & Bond Study claim there is sufficient resident parking already in existence around the areas of beach access.

-          we propose better signage around the Jenness State Beach parking lot to:

  • direct traffic where there is on-street parking;
  • better communicate how and where cars/RVs should park (within the white lights, off grass, etc.); and,
  • encourage beach-goers to be “better neighbors” with signage to encourage disposal of trash and food.  

On a 3-2 vote, the Beach Committee proposed not to propose anything regarding parking on Perkins Road, concluding that more research was needed to properly assess the issue.

However, mere days later and on short notice, despite the recommendations of the Beach Committee, on January 23, 2019, the Rye Board of Selectmen held a special meeting at 1PM to discuss again "a warrant article to make Perkins Rd in Rye Resident Permit Parking only from Memorial Day through Labor Day." 

Residents from Perkins Rd, Old Beach and Cable attended the last minute special “Warrant Article Reconsideration Meeting." The Selectmen discussed potentially forming a Parking Committee, and set a follow up meeting for Monday, January 28, 2019, beginning at 7pm. 

At the 1/28/19 meeting, the Board of Selectmen decided to form a Parking Committee charged with “reviewing safety on Perkins Rd” over the course of 4 weeks, with recommendations submitted to Board by April, in time to institute any possibly needed changes before the summer season.

The chapter acknowledges this as a setback and a duplicative waste of time, as the Rye Beach Committee has already made recommendations to the Board on this matter and written Warrant Articles to address safety amongst other things pertaining to beach, beach access, and parking. This means that the Parking Committee is charged with studying an issue that another Town Committee has already studied and issued recommendations to the Board of Selectmen on. We're not sure who didn't like to outcomes or recommendations of the Beach Committee findings and has enough influence in town to repeat the work already done via another committee, but rest assured the Chapter is on it and will be carefully following this campaign and making its voice heard in favor of public beach access for all.

On Monday, June 10th at 6:30, the Town of Rye, NH Board of Selectmen voted against the parking ordinance that eliminates public parking on Perkins Road. This amendment would have fully eliminated six (6) parking spaces on Perkins Road, an action that eliminates critical parking and beach access for surfers and those that recreate at Jenness Beach. If passed, this ordinance would have created a dangerous precedent that would have allowed residents to eliminate parking spaces on other beach roads in the future, effectively creating a blanket parking ban and eliminating beach access in Rye. However, the Board did vote to advance to Warrant Article a proposal that prohibits parking on five feet of either end of the private driveways on Perkins Road. This rule is lsated to take effect this summer, with a final decision to be rendered by voters at the March Town Meeting, when all will be able to vote for or against the warrant article. 

The proposed ordinance was been tabled by a small number of Rye residents that live in the Jenness Beach Precinct, and specifically on Perkins Road. These residents actively sit on the “Perkins Road Safety Committee,” a committee formed by the town to analyze a parking ban, and the Board of Selectmen, the board charged with voting on the parking ban. The result is that these captured town entities have chosen to falsely use “public safety” as a method to justify a parking ban on Perkins Road, an action that is tailored to placate the complaints of a select group of resident property owners, and in total opposition to the results and recommendations of a third party parking study commissioned by Rye in 2015 (Tighe and Bond): a study that repeatedly reiterates that there are no safety concerns related to street parking in the Precinct.

This parking ordinance is the beginning of an attempt to eliminate beach access to some of our state’s most pristine beaches and best surfing - and the Surfrider NH chapter is working hard to ensure maintained public access in Rye. 

YOU CAN HELP!

Email for more information or to get involved in this effort to protect parking access in Rye for ALL: chair@nh.surfrider.org

Beach Access

Our beaches mean so much to us. They are where we live, where we work, and where we come to play. Our beaches are the entryway to our ocean and we believe that beaches should be accessible to everyone. This is why our network of staff experts, volunteers, and members are determined to keep our beaches accessible for all to enjoy.

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