Lee County commissioner addresses island parking issues, new parking rangers

February 1, 2019
By Marcy Shortuse

■ BY COMMISSIONER JOHN MANNING
The following was written by John Manning, Lee County Commissioner for District 1. This letter pertains to the changes in beach access parking and county parking that have taken place in the last year.
In the many years I have served as your representative on the Lee County Commission, your once-quiet island has been discovered by a new generation of residents and visitors alike. This discovery has brought about changes and issues that growth always brings – some positive and some challenging.
In an effort to address these challenges, several years ago I asked County staff to begin working with the GICIA-sponsored advisory parking panel to identify and find solutions to the most pressing issues the island is facing. The last revision to the county ordinance governing Gasparilla Island was in 1991 and due for review.
Working in partnership with several Lee County departments, Lee County Sheriff’s Office and with the support of the Boca Grande Fire Department, this local advisory panel has made great strides in the areas of beach access signage, parking and public safety. Park rangers have been introduced to the island to educate and monitor parking regulations on the dead-end beach access streets, while allowing ample room for emergency vehicle access for residents and beachgoers. The rangers have already made a great impact on the access streets and other county-owned properties. Their presence allows the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to devote their resources to other areas of the island that may need their attention.
The proposed revisions to the ordinance will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners this year and will have a positive impact on your community. Boca Grande is a special place, and I am committed to supporting your efforts to be welcoming, while preserving the uniqueness of the island.
John Manning
Lee County Commissioner
District 1