PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will hold virtual public hearings this month on proposed fee changes for daily parking at Misquamicut State Beach and Lot G in the Port of Galilee. Due to the Covid-19 emergency, which prevents the Department from holding public meetings in person, the public hearing will be held virtually in accordance with Executive Order 20-05.
WHAT: Virtual Public Hearing on User Fees at State Beaches, Parks and Recreational Areas
WHEN: Monday, April 26, 2021 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81184546828?pwd=SFNNVlFQRjcyUkxZTFp3UzdqVjhSUT09 Meeting ID: 811 8454 6828 Passcode: 735068
To join the public hearing by phone call 1-929-205-6099 and enter Meeting ID: 811 8454 6828
The proposed fee changes at Misquamicut State Beach only pertain to daily parking; there are no proposed changes to fees at any other state beach location or to the cost of season passes. The proposed new rates are as follows:
- The daily parking rate for non-residents will increase from $12 to $20 on weekdays and from $14 to $30 on weekends & holidays
- The daily parking rate for RI residents will increase from $6 to $10 on weekdays and from $7 to $15 on weekends and holidays.
If approved by the legislature after the rulemaking process, the new fee structure would take effect by July 1. The draft regulations can be found on the Secretary of State's website at https://rules.sos.ri.gov/regulations/part/250-100-00-3
Rhode Island uses a fee schedule that dates to 2002 for state beach parking fees. These current rates are significantly lower than the parking fees charged at most other public beaches in the state. The modest increase in beach fees at Misquamicut would limit the burden on Rhode Island taxpayers by ensuring that beach patrons – including the 88 percent of out-of-state residents who visit Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly each year – contribute their fair share toward beach operations. The additional funds raised from the proposed new fees would be reinvested in DEM's Division of Parks and Recreation and would also increase the amount of revenue provided to the Town of Westerly, which is the host community. Under RI law, a municipality that has a state beach within its jurisdiction receives 27 percent of the daily beach parking fees annually. Misquamicut State Beach has approximately 2,700 parking spots. Local officials and local businesses support the proposed increased parking fees because the rates currently charged at the Misquamicut lot are out of sync with the rates charged by the Town and private parking lots.
WHAT: Virtual Public Hearing on Port Operations Regulations and Berthing Management System WHEN: Monday, April 26, 2021 11:00 a.m. WHERE: Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87447071397?pwd=UndRMG93ODFPb3laS0FIMmVKbkQ0QT09 Meeting ID: 874 4707 1397 Passcode: 629206
To join the public hearing by phone call 1-929-205-6099 and enter Meeting ID: 874 4707 1397
The proposed regulation would increase fees at State Parking Lot G in the Port of Galilee, which is managed by DEM's Division of Coastal Resources. Located on Galilee Connector Road within walking distance to the Block Island Ferry, the lot's 457 spaces offer convenient parking access for Block Island residents, local business and state beaches. Both short and long-term parking is available through the purchase of an annual parking placard or through a daily parking fee. The daily parking fee for weekdays would remain at $10. The proposed new rates are as follows:
- The cost for a seasonal placard, which accommodates two vehicles registered under the same residential address, would increase from $75 to $150 for residents aged 65 and over; from $150 to $300 for RI residents: and from $250 to $500 for non-residents.
- The daily parking rate on weekends and holidays would increase from $10 to $15.
If approved by the legislature after the rulemaking process, the new fee structure would take effect in July 2021. The draft regulations can be found on the Secretary of State's website at https://rules.sos.ri.gov/promulgations/part/250-50-00-1
To make a public comment during the hearings, participants should signal their interest to comment on the record by typing their name and title in the chat box. Note that individuals who join the hearing by phone will not have access to the chat box feature and will therefore be asked for comment at the end of the hearing.
All interested parties are invited to submit written comments by 4 p.m. on May 12 to DEM concerning the proposed regulations. For the proposed Port of Galilee regulations, comments should be directed to email@example.com or by mail to Daniel Costa, DEM Division of Coastal Resources, Port of Galilee, 301 Great Island Road, Narragansett, RI 02882; for the proposed Misquamicut State Beach regulations, comments should be sent to Frank.firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Frank Floor, DEM Division of Parks & Recreation, 1100 Tower Hill Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852. After the close of the public comment period DEM will compile all written comments submitted to the Department, as well as any verbal comments made during the public hearings and will respond to those comments all at once. Verbal comments made during the hearing and written comments received before or after the hearings will all be given equal consideration. DEM will consider and respond to public input before issuing final regulations later this spring.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.