ISSUE: Why Do I Have to Pay For Parking at The Oceanfront? I’m a Tax-paying Resident, So It Should Be Free!

FACT: Parking is an enterprise fund, which means it is self-supporting from the fees it collects. Revenue from real estate or personal property taxes are not used to support Parking Management’s operation. Rather, Virginia Beach uses a “pay as you go” approach to parking. Parking fees apply to the municipal garages, surface lots and on-street parking in our resort area.

31st street garage In addition to paying for staff salaries, parking fees fund the maintenance of the lots and garages. The salt, sand and water at the Oceanfront wear down components faster than similar facilities in more forgiving conditions. For example, the elevators at the 31st Street garage are being replaced after eight years – just half of their anticipated life expectancy.

Over the last 10 years, Parking Management has spent about $1.3 million on structural repairs, waterproofing and lighting projects at the Oceanfront garages. When the numbers are broken down after expenses, Parking Management brings in enough revenue to fund operations, maintenance and savings for future projects.

New construction is financed through the Virginia Beach Development Authority, which issues and holds the debt. Revenue from the Parking Management enterprise fund is then used to pay off the debt over a set amount of time.

Of course, this leads to the inevitable next question: How come parking is free at Town Center​? When Town Center was in the planning phase, one of the key components of the development agreement was that municipal parking would always be free.

To meet this stipulation, property owners are part of a special service district, or SSD, where a surcharge is applied to their property tax rate. This additional charge only applies to properties within Town Center, not the city as a whole. The money collected as part of this SSD is dedicated to supporting the maintenance and security of the Town Center garages, much like the use fees at the resort lots and garages. The Oceanfront garages are not part of an SSD, which is why they charge a use fee.

Even though it’s not free, there are a number of programs available for reduced parking in the resort area. Residents can take advantage of discounts at City lots and garages after 5 p.m., and $3 parking at all municipal lots and garages year round, just by showing a Virginia Beach ID. Additionally, the lots at Croatan, Sandbridge and Little Island are $3 for residents all the time.

For frequent parkers, there is a loyalty card that offers free parking after five sessions. Parking Management also offers seasonal passes that are good from April 1 through October 31 that cover unlimited parking visits to the resort and Croatan lots for $80, and Sandbridge locations for $60.

During the shoulder season, which runs from November 1 through March 31, metered spaces and municipal parking lots are free of charge to use. There’s also free two-hour parking on Atlantic Avenue from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. The program covers all blocks between 6th and 25th Street, with the exception of 10th, 11th, 21st and 22nd Street.

In summary, residents of Virginia Beach only pay for municipal parking when they use it. For more information about parking facilities in Virginia Beach, discount programs and mobile payment options, please visit VBgov.com/parking.​​​

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