City leaders from the "shark bite capital of the world" are taking a bite out the wallets of out-of-towners.
Evidence that the city of New Smyrna Beach is serious about charging visitors who do not live in Volusia County to pay to park is in the kiosks that were put in place over the weekend and are expected to be up and running in October.
In March, city leaders voted to charge anyone who was not a resident of New Smyrna Beach to pay to park in the city's four beachfront parking lots. A short time later, the rule was changed to only non-Volusia County residents.
The four parking lots are located at:
- 27th Avenue Beachfront Park
- Flagler Avenue Beachfront Park
- Esther Street Beachfront Park
- Grayce Kenemer Barck North Beach Community Park
So far, close to 400,000 people have applied for a decal showing they live in Volusia County and do not have to pay for parking in those lots. Volusia residents can get an application for a beach lot parking pass at cityofnsb.com/ParkNSB.
For everyone else, it's $10 to park, using either cash or a credit card.
Sandy Guinn, who lives in West Virginia, said she would rather smell the ocean's salt water from a free parking spot than fork over the cash.
"Since 1956, I started coming here when I was 6 years old," said Guinn, who parked on the Flagler Boardwalk lot overlooking the beach Tuesday. "The beach, it's had many, many changes, but none as drastic as charging me to park to look at it. That's a drastic change."
The money raised from the city's four parking lots will help pay for maintenance at those lots.