Horry County’s new ‘no parking’ zones hurt tourism

09/27/2013 5:35 PM

09/27/2013 5:36 PM

My husband and I own a condo in Garden City. A paved beach access separates our condo building from the one next door. Each of the two buildings has 18 condo units and parking spaces under the buildings. In the summer, when there are lots of vacationers, some spaces in the beach access parking lot have been used overnight for overflow parking.

In July, Horry County erected a sign at the beach access that said, “No Parking 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.” The sign is not on the street side of the lot where it could be seen upon driving into the lot; it's on the beach side. In the nine years we have owned here, there has never been a No Parking sign in this lot. Lots of tickets have been issued since the sign went up.

I called our Horry County Council representative to find out why the sign had showed up. He said it was so that locals and day-trippers could park at the beach access. Locals or day-trippers have no reason to park here between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Occasionally, however, there are vacationers -- Horry County's bread and butter -- who are parked in this lot between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. because they have no other place to park.

We have some very nice families who come back to vacation in our building year after year, and they pay a higher price to stay at a place on the beach. Imagine their surprise when, after driving all day from out of state, and arriving after dark, they wake up for their first day of vacation and find a ticket on their car for parking in a place where they have never seen a No Parking sign. I have talked to other condo owners in our area of the beach, and they have the same situation.

Horry County spends a great deal of money to attract visitors. I fail to see why this county parking ordinance can't be amended to allow people who have a legitimate reason for parking overnight in a beach access lot to park there. This could be as simple as requiring that a parking sign from one of the adjacent condo buildings be displayed in the vehicle window. Or, if the county is worried about loss of revenue from the tickets, they could always offer to sell parking passes.

The writer lives in Garden City.

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