HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The county attorney told the Horry County Council that the body does not have solid legal standing to pursue action against the city of Myrtle Beach in response to its paid parking rules.
Attorney Arrigo Carotti addressed that issue in open session of Tuesday's county council meeting following a roughly 30-minute executive session.
Carotti said he had been instructed by the administration committee to conduct in-depth research into Myrtle Beach charging for parking at beach accesses and see if the county had a strong enough case to take legal action.
Council chairman Mark Lazaraus said that was the legal opinion. However, he added it did not preclude the body from looking at other options.
Lazarus said he will be at the upcoming Myrtle Beach City Council meeting and will address the body to discuss other proposals.
Last year, the city of Myrtle Beach enacted new parking rules, which have angered many non-city residents.
Myrtle Beach leaders decided to charge visitors for parking along Ocean Boulevard in the Golden Mile area of the city. Anyone with a city resident decal can park in those spaces for free, but non-residents have to pay $2 per hour or $10 per day.
Additionally, non-city residents can buy a parking decal for $100 and park outside of 29th Avenue North and 69th Avenue North without feeding the parking meters.
However, inside those streets, they still must pay the parking meters.
Leslie Morgan, co-founder of the Free Beaches organization, spoke on the matter during the meeting's public comment period. She said the $100 non-resident parking decal was pitched as a compromise that would appease county residents.
Morgan didn't see it that way.
"Someone who lives in Chicago or Albuquerque could buy this decal," she said.
Morgan asked the county to use some other leverage against the city of Myrtle Beach to remedy the parking issues.
She suggested such measures as cutting off any financial support the county gives the city to pay for extra police during the Memorial Day Bikefest, and holding back funds for beach renourishment.
"We're not tourists. We support the city on a year-round basis," Morgan said. "We're the good neighbors."