Judge dismisses lawsuit filed by NMB residents over parking issues in the city

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday filed by residents against the city of North Myrtle Beach after the city illegally allowed parking in the median of Ocean Blvd.

"The implication from the judge's ruling is it's up to a municipality's government, city council to determine which laws to enforce, and how aggressively to enforce those laws. And as our attorney tried to make the point was well what if they decided not to enforce the murder laws, or the rape laws. Are they just free to pick and choose what they're going to do? And the judge said yes, it's matter of city management and if you don't like it you can vote them out," said resident Len Anthony.

This ruling comes shortly after residents on sides streets of Ocean Blvd received a letter from city leaders, saying to move obstructions from the front of their homes 27 feet from the road. Several people who live on the side streets of Ocean Blvd. in North Myrtle Beach recently received the letter saying they had to remove the obstructions. Around 30 people came out to the city council meeting on Monday to speak out about the issue.

"Don't try to take people's yards and turn it into a public parking lot," said Len Anthony. The letter from the city says residents must move any obstructions from the road 27 feet into the lawn by June 17. According to the city, that piece of land is actually a public right of way.

"We don't think it's illegal," said City Manager Mike Mahaney during Monday night's meeting.

"There are people who have paid a lot of money over the years, landscaping, caring for, trimming, making this a pretty place to live," said Anthony.

While the city says it's public property, Anthony explains the city hasn't worked to upkeep that area in the past. Anthony thinks this new parking plan is in response to the parking lawsuit between residents and the city; 24 neighbors are currently suing North Myrtle Beach for allowing people to park in the middle of Ocean Blvd.

"The plaintiff's in the median lawsuit see this as payback for having brought the lawsuit and we're going to fight this as well and we're not going to take this," said Anthony.

"I'm not going to say a whole lot, but I will say prior to litigation we had no problems, and I will leave it at that," said Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley.

Anthony and other residents say they're hoping the city can find another solution to the parking problem because they say letting people park on the sides of the street is a safety issue. "All it takes is a second for a little kid to take that one little step out into the pavement, and boom, you got a dead child. Is offering free parking to visitors worth that risk?"

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