A week after Horry County backed off of suing Myrtle Beach for its paid beach parking, county council chairman Mark Lazarus asked Myrtle Beach to expand where visitors can park with a non-resident pass.
“If we want to talk about fair and equitable,” Lazarus said, “this $100 pass should be good for any metered parking space within the city limits of Myrtle Beach.”
Earlier this year, Myrtle Beach began offering an expanded $100 non-resident decal that would allow purchasers unlimited parking in some areas, but not in the beach access lots along the Golden Mile, a residential stretch of beach from 31st Avenue North and 53rd Avenue North. Many county residents prefer to go to the beach along that stretch. Additionally, some parking activists were angry that the decal could be bought by anyone, not just Horry County residents.
But Lazarus stuck to requesting that the new decals be usable at any metered spot, which would not include parking in areas like residential avenues or the convention center.
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At issue is “just 400 spots,” Lazarus said. He was joined at the meeting by Horry County councilmen Johnny Vaught, Dennis DiSabato, Danny Hardee, Harold Phillips and Bill Howard.
Myrtle Beach city councilmen had not responded directly to Lazarus’s request as the meeting continued Tuesday afternoon, but Councilman Phil Render did say that the issue of parking should not become a wedge between the two governmental bodies.
“One issue is not going to derail the excellent working relationship we have between the city and the county presently,” Render said.
Last week, Horry County Attorney Arrigo Carotti advised county council that they likely did not have the standing to sue Myrtle Beach, after County Councilman Harold Worley asked staff on Feb. 28 to research the possibility of legal action. County officials said that the charges for parking are unfair because Myrtle Beach residents with vehicles registered inside the city receive a decal to park anywhere without an additional fee. Myrtle Beach officials say that residents do pay for parking through their vehicle property taxes.
The new parking charges went into effect last July, instituting paid parking at $2 an hour or $10 a day at beach access lots across Myrtle Beach. County residents, mainly from Carolina Forest, protested the move, arguing that they should not have to pay to park along the Golden Mile. The city instituted paid parking in that area, however, because residents there complained of some visitors parking in their yards and disrupting the neighborhood.
Lazarus also said Tuesday that parking is not just an issue for Carolina Forest, and that he’s gotten calls from areas like Aynor and Loris. He suggested that the county and various towns along the coast need to continue to talk, calling all the residents of the area part of “Team Horry.”
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