At a town hall meeting Tuesday night, city and county residents grilled Myrtle Beach City Council about parking issues and the effects of a new Publix on 82nd Parkway.
Leslie Morgan, an Horry County resident, asked council to reinstate free parking for county residents. Until after Independence Day weekend, there was free parking along the Golden Mile, a residential area on the north side of Myrtle Beach.
“In my mind we support your city on a year-round basis, not just from Memorial Day to Labor Day,” she said.
In my mind we support your city on a year-round basis, not just from Memorial Day to Labor Day. County resident Leslie Watson Morgan
Mayor John Rhodes said the city was considering something that might make parking easier for county residents, such as an “opportunity to buy a decal on a yearly basis, and you pay pretty much what the basis taxes on our cars are.”
City residents with a resident decal on their cars do not have to pay for parking. City officials said that the property taxes city residents pay on their cars serve as funding for the maintenance of parking spaces near the beach. Rhodes said the rough cost for car property taxes, if extended to county residents, could be $300. Property taxes are based on the age, make and model of residents’ cars.
Some attendees also complained about a lack of bathrooms at the beach. Others thought that the ability to park without paying at a meter or with the city’s mobile app should be extended to a wider group.
Rich Galante, a Vietnam War veteran, asked the city to allow people with veterans’ plates to park for free at the beach.
“What about the guys in the military who are out protecting our country?” he asked, to scattered applause from the audience.
Councilman Mike Lowder, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said the city is examining extending parking privileges to veterans. “Let me just say we’re working on that,” he said.
Those who are handicapped, disabled veterans, Purple Heart recipients and Medal of Honor recipients with appropriate license plates are able to park free, per state law.
Several residents of the Providence Point and Antigua housing developments, off 82nd Parkway, also spoke about issues from the Publix that was recently built in the area.
Kay Bailey, a Providence Point resident, said residents want the store to clean up boxes behind the building and cover its trucking ramp.
“We would rather not look out there and just see the cardboard boxes out in the open,” she said.
Laurel Powell, a resident of the adjacent Antigua development, said deliveries to the store have created unwanted noise as trucks and workers move in and out. She also said that Publix’s lights have become a problem for residents.
“Nighttime is gone,” she said. “It’s absolute overkill with the lights.”
Rhodes said the city could explore a timetable for the store so that deliveries were restricted in late hours. He said the city would study what it might be able to do about the store’s lights, and said the store could possibly point them away from the surrounding homes.