Restrictions on free parking decals?

Parking decal debate

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - No one likes to pay to park at the beach. Now, one Grand Strand town is cracking down on who will be able to grab a resident's parking pass.

With the new meters in Surfside Beach, it's now harder and harder to find parking in the town where you don't have to pull out your wallet. For the people who live here, this has really put a big focus on parking decals. Now there's discussions about who should and shouldn't have them and even down to how many.

a source at the town hall told WMBF News reporter Alex Holley they had one hundred people grab decals just a couple of weeks ago.

People who live and pay taxes in Surfside say there need to be some changes.

"I think there should be a limitation," said Michael Romano, who lives in Surfside Beach. "I mean after all, they should share in the expense in running the town if they're going to be here, use our roads and beach and everything."

These Surfside parking decals allow anyone who has one to have a free pass at parking anywhere in the town.  Right now, folks who live in Surfside beach full-time or own property here can have one free decal for each of their cars. All that could change.

Skipping out on paying for parking by grabbing a decal does have its costs for locals. Surfside Beach Mayor Doug Samples says fewer people putting in dollars to pay machines means fewer people are paying the road tax. This is crucial to keep up the roads in our area, since a certain amount per car gets poured into fixing local roadways.

People who live full-time in Surfside say they shouldn't have to be the only ones bearing that tax burden, while part-timers and visitors argue they shouldn't have to pay for everything. It's a big decal debate, one that could have some long-term effects.

"I'm not coming back, is what's going to happen," said Ted Walker, who comes to Surfside Beach often. "You're running me away to Charleston, South Carolina or some other real nice beaches like Sullivan's Island, and other places that are not so commercialized, like Beaufort."

The proposed ordinance allows people who live in Surfside Beach to have one for each of their cars, while people who own property here can have just one total. This ordinance will be discussed Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Surfside Beach Town hall meeting.

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