Possible parking changes coming to parts of Ocean Blvd. - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Possible parking changes coming to parts of Ocean Blvd.

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There's a motion before the Myrtle Beach City Council to discontinue parking along Ocean Boulevard from Seventh Avenue North to 14th Avenue North permanently.

Right now you can park along that stretch at no charge during the off season, but City leaders are looking to make changes to cut down on traffic. The city says between delivery trucks and snow bird traffic, even in the off season the roadway can be busy.

Joel Spillane knows all too well how busy it can get. Spillane delivers food to a handful of restaurants on Ocean Boulevard twice a week. He pulls right up and parks his truck. Emergency crews, police, mail trucks and some vendors are allowed to do so anytime of the year.

For Spillane, eliminating parking for everyone else during the "off season" is ideal because he says it's often hard to find a spot.

"We have to park sometimes a block and a half away or in the back alleys just to get to the stops we have to deliver to," he says.

One group that is likely not so excited about potential changes is the Oceanfront Merchants Association.

The owner of the Gay Dolphin, Justin Plyer, is a member of the group. His store has been around for 69 years, and he worries new parking rules will hurt business.

"We've had a large number of people retire to the beach. Most of those shopped at our store on their vacation, and then they come back in, so I do have many more local people than I've ever had in the past," says Plyer.

Plyer says business already drops about 95 percent during the off season and not allowing customers to pull up and park would diminish business by another 75 percent, he estimates.

"We will see how things go first, but the only thing you can do is cut staff," he says.

This is why the city has put the motion off for another two weeks. Council members are waiting for feedback from the Oceanfront Merchants Association. Mark Kruea says the city could make a decision at their March 25 meeting and it would go into effect October 1.

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