Parking Amendments Approved for Crescent Beach and Cliff House Beach

At the Monday, March 8, 2021 Town Council Meeting the council voted 6 to 1 in favor of approving the Traffic Ordinance Parking Amendments relating to Kettle Cove/Crescent Beach and Sea View Avenue/Glen Avenue which were packaged together.   During a September 14, 2020 meeting the Town Council referred the Kettle Cove amendments to the Ordinance Committee in order to address the increase of people parking cars on Crescent Beach without needing to launch a boat.  The council forwarded additional parking amendments for Sea View Avenue and Glen Avenue at the November 9, 2020 meeting in response to a significant increase in traffic associated with Cliff House Beach.

The Kettle Cove parking amendment now stipulates that a motor vehicle with a trailered watercraft may be parked on Crescent Beach by a commercially licensed fisherman or a person with a boat launch permit for the express purpose of launching and unlaunching a watercraft.  The amendment defines a watercraft as being a “boat that requires a motor vehicle and trailer to convey to a launch area and excludes floatation devices such as but not limited to a paddle board, surf board, nonmotorized inflatables, and pool toys.”  The key change precludes beach parking to anyone launching a water vessel that does not require a trailer pulled by a motorized vehicle.  Special permits accommodating mooring owners wishing to access their mooring, but do not require a trailered watercraft.

As a result of the growing popularity of the Cliff House Beach Park located at the end of Sea View Avenue, neighborhood concerns over emergency access safety and overcrowding prompted a review of the parking ordinance. In a Cliff House Beach Neighborhood Survey which was completed by 133 residents, the majority favored restricting parking from May 1 to September 30 to Cape Elizabeth residents, in addition to general parking restrictions on certain sides of Sea View Avenue and Glen Avenue.  Some of the reasons cited were that families avoided using the park at certain times because of too many vehicles and that “the increase in the number of people and vehicle traffic at Cliff House Beach has changed the character” of the neighborhood.

The amendment proposed by the Ordinance Committee and approved by the Town Council on Monday night states:

No motor vehicle shall be parked on the northwest side of Sea View Avenue from its intersection with Shore Road northeasterly to its terminus.  Up to two motor vehicle spaces may be used for bicycle parking on the east side of Sea View in the area of the utility pole.  After sunset, each day until sunrise, no motor vehicle shall be parked on the east side of Sea View Avenue from its intersection with Glen Avenue northeasterly terminus.  No motor vehicle shall park on east side of Glen Avenue from the intersection with Sea View Avenue to Shore Road.

In addition, the amendment limits parking on Sea View Avenue and Glen Avenue from May 1 to October 1 to only cars that display a Town of Cape Elizabeth Municipal Recycling Center sticker.  Chair Jamie Garvin, the sole councilor who did not vote to approve the amendments to the Traffic Ordinance, voiced concern that this would set a precedent and,  “invite a parade of people coming from other parts of town looking for the same accommodations.”  In contrast, Councilor Penny Jordan said that in voting in favor of the amendment she is trying to strike a balance between “Cape Elizabeth being the recreational town for greater Portland and Cape Elizabeth being a town for its residents,” and that she wants to make ensure that residents are “able to enjoy the assets of the town that they moved here to enjoy.”  Councilor Jeremy Gabrielson, who serves on the Ordinance Committee along with Jordan, said that he became comfortable supporting resident-only parking as a solution once he realized that “there are very few other remedies that are allowed by the geography” in this location.

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