Parking concerns

A slide from Harrisville’s April 8 public hearing on a proposal to regulate parking at

Silver Lake. The selectboard decided Friday to delay a decision until next year’s town meeting.

HARRISVILLE — The town will delay a decision on regulating public parking at Silver Lake until next year’s town meeting, the selectboard voted Friday.

The board had been considering a plan to cap the number of spots near the boat ramp on Breed Road, where public parking is allowed on both sides of the road at the south end of the 346-acre lake. Proponents of parking restrictions have said that plan would make the area safer, while opponents have argued it would unnecessarily limit access to the lake and should be put to a townwide vote.

During a meeting Friday morning, the three-member selectboard unanimously approved a motion to defer a vote on a parking plan to the 2022 town meeting. The board also voted to leave the details of the plan to a group of Harrisville residents who came together on their own this week and committed to exploring the issue further.

“We all decided that this really needed to come to the town to vote on,” said Pam Wilder, one of six members of the group, which is calling itself the Stoney Beach Advisory Committee after the area of the lake near the boat ramp.

A group of residents who live on Silver Lake initially asked the selectboard to enact parking regulations near the boat ramp, board member Kathy Scott has said. But others in town, including Wilder, a lifelong Harrisville resident, have said parking restrictions would limit access to the public lake.

The new committee, which consists of three residents who live on the lake and three who don’t, plans to meet every two or three weeks, Wilder said. They will seek input from fellow residents, the state department of transportation and the town’s police department and traffic safety committee, among other groups.

Additionally, Wilder said, the group plans to collect data from the lake this summer — including the number of boats on the water, how long they are there and how many parking spots are being used regularly — to inform the plan they will propose for the 2022 town warrant.

Anyone who wants to get involved in the planning process can email stoneybeachadvisory@gmail.com.

Jack Rooney can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or jrooney@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @RooneyReports.