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Oak Island Meeting on Paid Parking, WECT

'We made a mistake’: Oak Island Town Council apologizes after rushing, then reversing, paid parking program

OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) - About 130 people packed Oak Island Town Hall on Tuesday night for a special meeting with most in attendance to discuss the debate over whether the town should implement paid parking by the beach.

A town divided on beach parking spots

The discussion about parking in Oak Island did not result in a vote or a decision Tuesday night, but residents shared perspectives with town council.

When asked by a show of hands, about half of the audience expressed support for a paid parking program while the other half did not support charging for beachside parking.

Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Winecoff began the parking discussion by apologizing for the council’s quick decision and then reversal.

“You’re taught growing up, if you make a mistake, you apologize, so we rushed trying to get this parking in before summer, and we made a mistake," said Winecoff. "I apologize to the citizens of Oak Island because it should be our job to make sure we do it the right way.”

Days after selecting NC Parking to run Oak Island’s paid parking program for the town’s 1,100 spots, the board rescinded the offer after illegal drug charges came to light by one of the company leaders.

“He told us, and he told the people in the audience, that he got arrested for cocaine," Winecoff said. “That’s a biggie for us because we know the drug problems down here in Brunswick County, and we felt that was not a good match for us so we rescinded that offer.”

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