MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach city leaders believe they have reached a fair compromise on downtown parking to help ease restrictions on non-city residents.
However, officials are also reminding the public why the restrictions were implemented in the first place.
"You have to go back to the main purpose in doing it. We had a parking situation that was just unmanageable, that we're just not designed for a lot of parking," said city manager John Pedersen. "And all of that parking, almost all of that parking, was coming from outside of the city."
The city's leaders brought in what they saw as fair restrictions, including requiring non-city residents to pay for parking along the Golden Mile or pay for a decal.
"That would basically allow non-residents to the city to park in two different locations in the downtown, and the cost of that permit was $100 per year," Pedersen said.
Since the change was put into place, members of Horry County Council called on Myrtle Beach to reconsider and Pedersen said the city was able to find some room for adjustment.
"We want to include the entire commercial area from 21st Avenue North to Sixth Avenue South. Basically any metered space in that area, that decal would be good for," Pedersen said. "And there is a hotel district on the north end as everyone knows, from 69th to 77th, and it can also be used there. So it greatly expands the area that the non-resident decal can be used in."
The vote, taken Tuesday, was to show Horry County leaders they have heard their concerns without overwhelming residential neighborhoods again, according to Pedersen.
"That is still our primary goal, to make sure our residents aren't impacted," he said. "But we felt like we could make some concessions, and to make our neighbors who aren't city residents, (we wanted to) make the beach a little more accessible to them as well."
Something that was on the table but did not pass was to end the paid parking period a month earlier in the city. Council members wanted to keep the times and dates of the parking restrictions consistent.