SURRY — Beachcombers, saltwater swimmers and residents were alarmed to see a public parking sign covered at the Carrying Place beach off Newbury Neck Road last week and the parking area barricaded.
The lot, used as public parking for decades, is actually on private property. Selectman Eric Treworgy explained that the landowners have put the property on the market.
“The owner did not know it was being used as a parking lot and asked that the parking signs be covered and access blocked due to concerns about liability,” Treworgy said. “In the meantime, the beach is still open and accessible, it is just that folks cannot use that parking lot.”
To that end, there will be a special town meeting on Monday, May 24, at 7 p.m. at the school gymnasium to decide whether the town of Surry should purchase the lot for $215,000.
Surry would borrow the money through a bond or a 15-year loan, which would make the total cost $273,519, assuming an interest rate of 3.17 percent, according to a copy of the warrant.
In a letter to the editor, Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Betsy Armstrong said parking is not allowed on Newbury Neck Road because it’s a safety hazard.
“A sale of the lot on the open marketplace would render the idyllic beach only available to the few who can walk or bike,” Armstrong wrote. “Fortunately, the owner is offering the town of Surry the opportunity to purchase the lot at a sub-market price. If the voters approve the purchase, the town can preserve the current space for this year and perhaps legitimately improve it for continued future use by Surry residents as well as neighbors and visitors.”
Armstrong said guests are welcome to attend the town meeting but may not vote.