MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach International Airport's rule for handicapped parking has changed.
Previously, anyone with a handicap placard could park for free for an unlimited amount of time. The new rule, put into effect Monday, says people with those placards can only park for free for 24 hours. For the rest of the time, standard rates apply.
Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught is on the transportation committee that made the rule change. He said it was enacted because the rule as it was before was being abused.
"There were times when we'd see those cars standing there a week or two," Vaught said. "And this is in short-term parking. It's being taken advantage of. People are coming in and leaving their car in short-term parking just because it's free for them. And that's not right."
One man who frequently flies in and out of MYR and uses handicap parking said he's not happy about the rule change.
"It was done without any notice whatsoever," Eric Moscato said. "I was greeted by a sign when I pulled into the airport this past Wednesday."
A South Carolina law appears to indicate handicap parking must be free, stating handicapped people "must be allowed to park in metered or timed parking places without being subject to parking fees or fines."
Vaught said the transportation committee knew about this law.
"We're aware of that," Vaught said. "And it is free. It's just that we've put a time restriction on it. It's not free forever."
Some might wonder whether the rule change is still valid under South Carolina law if parking is only free for the first 24 hours. Vaught said it is.
"I don't think we're breaking the law at all to do that," Vaught said.