Council affirms support for paid parking at the Frisco marina

Parking at the Frisco Bay Marina continues to be anchored at the center of Frisco Town Council conversations.

Councilors heard presentations from the marina officials and parking vendor representatives with Interstate Parking Co. at Tuesday’s work session. During discussion, the Town Council confirmed its support for finding a paid parking solution to address overcrowding.

The council will have the option to approve a contract with Interstate Parking Co. at its May 24 meeting.

The council voiced mixed support for a $99 seasonal parking pass available to everyone. The pass would not guarantee a spot, but would allow users to avoid the 75 cent per half-hour rate.

“It doesn’t sit well with me, but having said that, there’s a supply-and-demand issue,” councilor Jessica Burley said.

Reiterating what was written in the staff report, councilor Andrew Aerenson said, “The goal is to reduce congestion.”

Frisco Bay Marina General Manager Logan Snyder laid out the marina’s need for managed parking.

“Why do paid parking?” he asked the room before answering his question. “You have more frequency of vehicles turning over, more people going into your shops and restaurants are turning over more tables.”

That, he said, would benefit the town in addition to the wayfinding and parking enforcement services offered by Interstate Parking Co.

The marina has only 321 parking spots to its 251 kayak racks, 156 boat slips, 40 moorings and 20 boats in dry storage. Those users share the parking area with cyclists using the nearby trails, people enjoying the marina playground and others who are visiting the town of Frisco.

Snyder said the marina is working to maximize its current space as best it can. The fruit stand lot will be lined and improved, and another 10 spots will be added before the summer season, bring the total up to 331.

Town officials have also been encouraging boaters to utilize public transit options.

“As soon as you charge a fee, whatever that fee is, it’s going to change behavior,” Interstate Parking Co. Vice President Gareth Lloyd said. “That’s really what you guys are trying to accomplish.”

Public transportation would be part of that behavioral switch.

“A big reason why we’re doing this is to promote environmental sustainability — to really just promote less cars,” councilor Andy Held said.

Held added that he has a stand-up paddleboard and would not plan on buying a parking pass based on the town’s current plan.

Interstate Parking Co. has offered the town its services, which would include analytics. Lloyd said the company would have “a ton of statistics” to share with the town after its first year. That data would include usage patterns and would help to establish a better price point in the future, he said. Therefore the $99 rate would be somewhat of a test. Interstate Parking Co. is uncertain what the ideal rate will be.

“There’s a price point for everything,” Lloyd said. “There’s a price point to go skiing. There’s a price point to go to a restaurant. What is that price point? We really don’t know.”

Data collected in the company’s first year of the partnership would help advise it on the ideal rate to balance cost with demand for parking spaces.

Town council was not unanimous in its support of the pass system. Some expressed concern about overcrowding persisting or moving to downtown businesses.

Councilor Elizabeth Skrzypczak-Adrian wondered if a fee would push more cars into downtown lots.

“Then those businesses are just going to be inundated with marina parkers,” she said.

She also wondered if too many passes would be sold, causing overcrowding to persist. She also worried that boaters would be without a spot and short $99. She asked if it would make sense to limit the total number of passes sold.

‘”I’m not saying limit the user group for the passes, but maybe the number sold,” she said.

“I don’t personally see a need to limit pass sales,” Aerenson said.

He agreed with avoiding dolling out passes based on user groups.

“I don’t like an ‘us versus them,’ where slip holders can but beachgoers or bar patrons can’t. I would love to see a $99 season pass available to anybody who wishes to buy one.”

Addressing the public’s concerns about being “blindsided” by the paid parking plan, Held and Mayor Hunter Mortenson expressed a wish to keep the public more up to date.

“I fully share your frustration on how we can better get information out because it feels like we have the five readings and then a work session, and then the Summit Daily picks it up and it becomes an issue,” Mortenson said.

All storage customers were just added to the town council update distribution list, according to town clerk Deborah Wohlmuth.

Snyder said the marina first brought its concerns about parking to the council at the council’s Nov. 30, 2021 meeting.

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