Parking Authority Corruption in Rehoboth Beach

Today I want to share a story with you, about an underhanded practice that the meter readers in Rehoboth Beach do on a daily basis. It is the fraudulent act of ticketing vehicles on the streets that have less than 10 minutes left on the meter.

This is a true story that happened to me, and I hope you share in my distaste and anger.

On July 24th, I went into Rehoboth Beach with my daughter, for a quick visit to the boardwalk to pick up something for my wife. The beaches were packed that day, and of course parking was at a premium. I drove down Maryland Ave, a car was pulling out of their parking space, so I waited, and pulled in. I opened my Parkmobile app, and went to connect to pay for my time. Of course I got that dreaded “Unable to connect to server” message, so I went the old school route and got quarters out for the meter.

Now, the meter still had 14 minutes on it, so I was fairly happy about that. I proceeded to pump in 6 more quarters, to add on an hour.

The time on my phone was 11:10, so I knew I had till 12:24 to get back to my truck. More than enough time for what we needed to do.

We conducted our business on the boardwalk, and headed back to where we had parked. My daughter was window shopping, so I had to shuffle her along a little, since I knew we were close to time being up. Low and behold, as we approached my truck, there was a yellow envelope on my windshield. A parking ticket. I stormed up and snatched it off, and the time said 12:15. It was now 12:20, and my meter stated I had 4 minutes left. I was furious, and looked down the street. There was the meter reader about 100 yards down.

I ran down to R83 (that was their designation number) to complain, and was told “Take it up with the parking authority office”, and they kept going.

As I walked back to my truck, angered beyond belief, I noticed 2 other vehicles that ticket on their windshields, and there was still some time left on their meters. I realized as I was driving out, that I should have taken pictures. In my anger, I wasn’t thinking to clearly.

I guess this “officer” (and I use the word loosely), figured they were not going to get back to their vehicles in time, and ticketed them to save the extra walk back back. Either that, or they were afraid the owners would come back and feed more money in after time ran out, and they would miss out on writing a ticket.

I immediately called the number for the Rehoboth Beach parking authority (302-227-6184), and got a busy signal. I called every 4 minutes until I finally got through on the 9th try. I let loose on the guy that answered, and said I wanted to file a formal complaint. He took down my information, and I heard nothing back, until yesterday, when I received a letter in the mail telling me the meter is functioning fine, and my parking fine was due immediately.

I then spent the next two hours calling the pretty much every department for the City of Rehoboth, first to the City Managers office (I was told to send an email), then to the manager of the parking authority (I was told to send an email or a letter, though the fine is still due). Next call went to the department of public works (I was told they maintained the meters, and they told me to send an email), and finally to the mayors office, where I was told to I could email in my complaint. Low and behold, they all gave me the same email address, that dreaded general information@cityofrehoboth.com email address that pretty much will get you nowhere. Last time I sent an email into that, they signed me up to receive their daily email blasts, and no one ever responded back to my original email.

It also makes one wonder why they have a link right there on the main navigation for “Pay Your Parking Ticket”. Maybe because they pass out tickets like clowns hand out balloons at the circus.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love going to Rehoboth Beach. The shops and restaurants down there are some of the best you will find in the state. The people are friendly, and it is truly a family oriented place to visit.

My problem is with the underhanded practices of the parking authority, and how the local government turns a blind eye to what they do, because in the end, it is revenue. Got to make that summer money while you can.

So, if you are in Rehoboth, don’t let your meter drop below 10 minutes, because they will either ticket you, or stand there waiting for it to expire. You will never get any justice by calling or writing either. Oh, and if you pull into an expired meter, and the meter reader is around, jump out and drop a quarter quick, because they can ticket you for parking in an expired space. They can even do it if you are leaving.

Summer Preparations

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Delaware, we have a very large summer resort area known as the Delaware Beaches. It is an area that starts up near Milford with access to Slaughter Beach, and stretches down through Lewes, into Rehoboth Beach, and then down into Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, and finally Fenwick Island. The largest concentration of vacationers flock into the Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, and Dewey Beach area, which also happens to be the mecca for businesses in the resort area.

In our great state of tax free shopping, you can find pretty much anything that you could want in that stretch between these towns. From well know stores in the Tanger Outlets that stretch down Coastal Highway; like Old Navy, Rockport, Nike, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, PacSun, etc…, to the specialty retail shops that line the main streets in the towns themselves, like Downtown Cowgirl, Quiet Storm, Lewes Gifts, Kids Ketch, and dozens of others. There literally is something for everyone.

Then there are the restaurants. Aside from the well known chains such as Apple Bees, FGI Friday’s, Friendly’s, and Outback Steakhouse, our beach towns have a wealth of places to eat that will tantalize your taste buds. Places like Big Fish, Summer House, The Buttery, Stingray, and Victoria’s just to name a few.

With Spring Break upon us now, and summer coming fast, these businesses are in full tilt to prepare for the hundreds of thousands of visitors that will soon be making their way into our area. The lights in many of these shops that have been dark in the off season are coming on, and the merchandise is rolling in by the truck loads to stock the shelves. The amusement places, water parks, and stores are hiring their summer staff, and the night clubs and pubs in the area are lining up the bands that will be playing all summer long. Even the town committees are in full swing with holiday and festival preparations.

For those people that have made our beaches their annual vacation and weekend rituals, and have been coming here for years, they know the lay of the land. Chances are that over the years they have visited almost all of the shops, and have eaten in almost every one of our restaurants. They have congregated with friends, gone out on the town, taken their kids to the amusements, and staked out their spot on the beach.

What happens though with the people coming into our area for the first time, or have only been here a few times? I did a number of searches on the internet, and the information to help these people plan their vacations to our resort towns are scattered across dozens of web sites, and the information is as varied as the business in our are. Even the “visitor guides” that the chambers for the towns put out do not encompass all of the businesses, primarily because they are based upon chamber membership and paid spots.

Knowing how important the summer is to our fellow Delaware businesses in our resort towns, and in an effort to bring all of this information together, so that our visitors don’t need to spend hours searching the internet, is the driving force behind a new site we are soon going to be launching – 302 Beaches. A comprehensive guide to the beaches of Delaware.

The call is on now to our fellow business owners to submit their information to the guide, and make it as robust and powerful as possible. It is time to give our visitors one place for information, and grow our summer business.

302 Beaches – Where your summer fun begins.