Beach-goers will have a few extra days of free parking along the Golden Mile in Myrtle Beach after the City Council decided not to enforce new parking rules until after the big July Fourth holiday.
The new rules, which eliminated free parking close to the beach, will go into effect July 5. At a morning workshop Tuesday, Councilman Wayne Gray said implementing new rules Friday, as originally proposed, could spell trouble right before the Independence Day holiday, which is typically one of the busiest weekends for summer tourism.
It might end up being more confusing and more challenging and more detrimental, if that’s the right word. There’s going to be a lot of folks who are not aware of this, visitors who are staying at off-the-beach hotels.
City Councilman Wayne Gray
“It might end up being more confusing and more challenging and more detrimental, if that’s the right word,” Gray said. “There’s going to be a lot of folks who are not aware of this, visitors who are staying at off-the-beach hotels.”
On Tuesday, Myrtle Beach City Council approved the new rules that will restrict parking along the Golden Mile and bring a three-tiered parking fee structure to other popular parking areas.
City Manager John Pedersen has said that for the first two weeks after adoption, parking violators will primarily receive warnings. Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea confirmed that the two-week period will be pushed back with the new start date.
Under the new rules, the Golden Mile, a residential section of Ocean Boulevard from 31st Avenue North to 52nd Avenue North will no longer have free parking on its east side. Residents with cars registered in the city of Myrtle Beach and their guests will receive decals to park on the Boulevard for free; non-city residents can apply for decals to park in lots on Second Avenue North and 16th Avenue North. City residents with golf carts will also be able to apply for free parking decals from city contractor Lanier Parking.
Parking in beach access lots on the Golden Mile will cost $2 an hour or $10 a day
Beachfront access lots along the same mile, which were previously free, will be pay-by-phone, costing $2 an hour or $10 a day.
Two residents protested the rules during the council’s meeting, one arguing that special consideration should be given to seniors, even if they do not live on incorporated city land, and the other arguing that second-home-owners in the city should be allowed free parking decals.
Neither proposal was adopted by the council.
Pedersen said at the workshop that the new parking decals will have “a lot of value” and recommended a $20 fee for lost or damaged resident decals to discourage residents from doing anything “inappropriate” with the newly-exclusive ability to park for free on Ocean Boulevard.
Guest placards for residents will carry a $50 replacement fee.
“That’s something we really need to have controls on immediately to make sure that doesn’t get out of hand,” Pedersen said.
Throughout the council’s afternoon meeting, council members and Mayor John Rhodes talked about the long, debate-filled process that had led to the current parking rules. Gray said he expected the rules to be continuously tweaked.
Councilman Mike Lowder said that the city would have to implement the rules to truly see what effect it will have on the community, but that some may always remain unsatisfied with the compromise.
“There’s just some folks that if you give them a sack of money, they're going to complain about the sack it was given in,” Lowder said. “So we’ve tried, very hard.”