HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Horry County Council chairman is making a case for fair parking in Myrtle Beach for people who live outside of the city.
"They moved here, a lot of them, because of the beaches that we have," Chairman Mark Lazarus said. "They would like to have access to that. They're understanding more and more that there may be a cost to that, but let's make it fair for everybody."
Lazarus spoke to the Myrtle Beach City Council Tuesday on behalf of all of the people living in Horry County and not just those in Carolina Forest, who have been most vocal about the city's parking fees.
"This is a county-wide issue," he said. "I'm getting calls from residents of the county throughout Horry County. From Highway 90 to Conway, even Aynor, Loris areas."
Lazarus said the $100 non-resident parking pass should be valid for all city-metered parking spaces.
"The final thing is still the Golden Mile and we're not just saying the Golden Mile, but we're saying any metered spaces within the city limit of Myrtle Beach and that would be fair," Lazarus said.
Rich Malzone, one of the leaders of the Facebook group 'Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe,' said he would buy the pass if he could park at any metered space.
"I'd personally walk down there right now and give $100 to the mayor," Malzone said.
Malzone thanked all of the community leaders for working on this because both he and Lazarus said they are all part of the county.
"What's good for the city is good for the whole region," Malzone said. "What's good for the region is good for the city."
Lazarus called the entire county "Team Horry."
"Our citizens, whether they live in the unincorporated areas or the incorporated areas, they spend their hard-earned dollars here," he said.
Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes said he has to think about those living in the city and the people who do have special privileges.
"Our residents that pay all the taxes in the city, the car, the property taxes, whatever, are our No. 1 priority," Rhodes said.
The mayor added that he doesn't foresee any change in the rules for non-resident parking passes.
"Right now I don't see any indication from council to change that, but it's totally up to council if they want to make some revisions," Rhodes said.
Lazarus and Malzone are two who are pushing for change.
"It might not be me, but I hope my position at least carries a little bit of weight," Lazarus said.
Lazarus said he's not going to hold any leverage or anything like that against the city because that's not what this is about. He said it's about what's fair.
"I hope it will make them think," Malzone said of Lazarus' comments. "There's a lot of big picture things we have to get done and we're taking time up over 400 spots that they're being stubborn about."