MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - After hours of debating, Myrtle Beach City Council members voted to change parking around the Golden Mile.
Council members have been divided on how to handle parking on North Ocean Boulevard since the ordinance's first reading two weeks ago.
Some council members wanted to see a residential parking plan put in place to protect people living in the avenues, while others felt everyone living in the city has a right to park on the city's public streets.
The portions of the ordinance that faced the least amount of contention from council members were: limiting North Ocean Boulevard parking to the east side of the road for people living in the city who have city parking decals; making the street end lots by the beach pay-by-phone parking at double the rate of the Boardwalk area; and allowing anyone with a city decal to park in those lots for free.
Council members went back and forth Tuesday on making the avenues from 31st through 82nd city decal parking only.
Right now, anyone can park on the avenues. However, some people who live there told council members nobody parks in front of their houses right now, so they think limiting parking on Ocean Boulevard and the street ends will push more people with city decals in front of their homes.
Several council members went to the Golden Mile over the weekend to see first-hand how parking is distributed. They said they found fewer than 10 percent of cars parked in the area have city decals, so they don't think the regulations will have a spillover effect on the avenues.
Other people living in the Golden Mile told council members public parking in general has created safety issues and they would like to see all parking limited to residents only.
After all of the debating, city council ended up voting 4-3 to go ahead with limiting parking along the avenues to drivers with city decals and putting up signage to regulate that, while allowing individual streets to vote to opt-out of those signs and allow parking to go back to how it has been with no signs and anyone being allowed to park there.
The city will need more than a month to get the signs up and start enforcement.
In a few months, city council members plan to revisit the issue and look more closely at residential parking plans.