Tweak parking oversight for clearer accountability

Yes, get the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission out of the downtown parking enforcement business.

That's one of the suggestions on the table as the Beaufort City Council reviews a policy switch last year that turned over parking management to the commission. The commission hired Lanier Parking Solutions to design and enforce a new system, and got Main Street Beaufort, USA, involved.

Now the city is worried there are too many cooks in the kitchen, and they don't include the elected leaders the public expects to be in charge.

The city is finding that its staff is still spending a lot of time on parking issues. And because some of the changes installed by those it relegated this duty to have been less than warmly received, the public quite naturally seeks redress from the top of the food chain -- its elected leaders.

Give City Council credit for revisiting a past decision. That is wise.

After discussing it this week, all three entities involved are to come back to City Council in two weeks with recommendations for changes that could be implemented in the new year.

The recommendations should focus on streamlining accountability, authority and decision-making. The changes should not, at this point, undo the new parking system. That system deserves more time to settle in and be massaged. At its core, the new parking system simply does what should have been done all along: It enforces parking restrictions that have long been on the books.

Despite passionate objections, the sky is not falling. People will soon get used to obeying sensible parking restrictions and being held accountable if they don't. Downtown parking can either be a free-for-all, or restrictions can be evenly and fairly enforced. We vote for the latter. Getting some of the cooks out of the kitchen will help the city reach that goal.