Business and residents worry about possible changes to West Palm Beach parking fees

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The City of West Palm Beach is looking at possible changes to their parking throughout the city.

Some business owners and residents aren't happy about the proposed changes to possibly be made over then next five years.

Fay Hewitt was greeted with more than lunch and a drink Monday at O'shea's Irish Pub.

Before he got his plate, he was served a notice asking him to go to a meeting Wednesday where the proposal would be unveiled.

"I was in disbelief when I saw the notice," Hewitt said. "Just in disbelief. They want to raise everything."

O'shea's Irish Pub owner Maurice Costigan has put notices on the bar telling people of the parking changes possibly coming to the city.

He doesn't support the changes that are being proposed.

"It would hurt an awful, awful lot," he said. "It makes no sense that I can think of for anybody," said Costigan.

The City of West Palm Beach's 5-year-parking plan may increase monthly parking by $15 from $25 to $40 a month. 

They're also looking at raising citation fines from $17 to $25.

In addition to those changes, they're looking at only allowing quarters at meters and possibly increasing meter time zones to midnight citywide.

"You look at the quieter nights of the week and now you're going to get parking tickets at 9 o'clock at night. It just doesn't make any financial sense," Costigan said.

Revenue from the parking changes is expected to make up for the loss of 500 spaces over the next five years.

The city says the revenue will fund the upkeep of the garages.

"Look our role is to have it as easy as possible, but at the same time we have to make sure we can afford the infrastructure so people want to come down here," city spokesman Elliot Cohen said.

He also said revenue made will help them add high tech services to the area's parking system.

They include a smartphone application that would allow people to track what spaces are open downtown as well as credit card machines on the parking meters.

Some question if that's worth it and will voice their concerns at Wednesday's meeting in the Flagler Gallery at City Hall on Clematis Street.

The meeting starts at 3 p.m.

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