Victory | February 17 2015
A Higgins beachfront property owner submitted a presentation to the Scarborough City Council in early 2015, showcasing invasive photo-monitoring of beach users discreetly changing in and out of wetsuits by their cars at the City's free public parking spaces off Bayview Avenue. Touting what she called "indecent behavior," the beachfront property owner called for the Town to remove the public parking spaces in front of her home.
These parking spaces offer free, short-term parking with direct access to Higgins Beach, and this was not the first time they'd been under threat by beachfront property owners.
The Maine Chapter rallied with local citizens including surfers, aging adults who use the parking spots to walk dogs along this popular beach, residents and other beach users to urge the Town not to restrict public access to Higgins Beach by removing parking but to instead look at commonsense solutions for perceived behavioral issues.
After hearing arguments from all sides on February 17, 2015, including comments by the Surfrider Foundation, the Scarborough Ordinance Committee voted 2-to-1 in favor of dismissing the proposal to restrict access to the beach. Previous attacks on public access at Higgins Beach resulted in the slow chipping away of public parking and access, bit by bit. This is the first time in the countless attacks on public access at Higgins Beach where access swept the victory completely, without further compromising public access.
Councilwoman St. Clair asked for Surfrider and other concerned parties to email her for inclusion on an informal committee that will meet to address perceived behavioral issues and work toward finding solutions that will maintain the public's right of access.
Big THANKS to Dick LaRou & Jim Riechel of Scarborough, who helped coordinate this successful campaign effort!
Let's all remember to do our parts to enjoy, protect & respect the ocean, waves & beaches we love, and the human communities that surround them!
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