MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Paid parking gradually arrived in Murrells Inlet over the past several weeks after some restaurant managers said their restaurants would be empty even though their parking lots were filled with cars.
However, those restaurants' customers get reimbursed or receive an exemption for the $5 charge.
This is the breakdown of current parking policies for Marshwalk businesses:
- Free parking at lot adjacent to restaurant entrances
- $5 paid parking in overflow lots on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m., to 9 p.m.; customers of Bovine’s and Wahoo’s will be reimbursed
- Free parking
Creek Ratz, Dave's Dockside, Bubba's Love Shack:
- $5 parking in all lots all the time, with reimbursement on tabs of more than $10
Dead Dog Saloon, The Claw House:
- Free parking
- Free parking for Wicked Tuna and Crazy Sister Marina customers
- $5 for all non-customers
- Customers only
- All others will be towed; restaurant hired an extra employee to monitor the parking lot recently
Scot Goldfarb, general manager of Wicked Tuna, said the lot between the restaurant and the Marshwalk is not public.
Wicked Tuna owns the lot, however, he said starting last summer, the restaurant noticed people parking on their lot and not coming inside.
"The parking lot would be busy and full by 10 a.m. and sometimes those vehicles wouldn't leave until the next day, so our patrons wouldn't have a chance to park near the restaurant," Goldfarb said.
Goldfarb added the parking regulations guarantee Wicked Tuna customers have somewhere to park.
On the other hand, the nearby Dead Dog Saloon and the new Claw House are still keeping parking free for customers and non-customers alike.
The Claw House took up some parking spaces when it was built, but an expanded overflow lot across the street and parking spots in front of The Claw House make up for that loss, said John Campbell, managing partner of Dead Dog Saloon and The Claw House.
"We just think it's the right thing to do," Campbell said. "People park in our lots. Go to other restaurants, it's kind of been the same vice versa over the years."
Murrells Inlet 2020 has no opinion on parking fees near the Marshwalk.
Robert Thomas, who lives in the Murrells Inlet area, said he's frustrated with the paid parking.
"They didn't give anyone any warning about it," he said. "All of a sudden, you've got to start paying to park."
He said people need to be able to access the Marshwalk without paying for parking or having to eat at a specific restaurant to get reimbursed.
"It's been like that for the last 10 years. You never had to pay to park down there," Thomas said. "Parking down there is a premium anyway."