Tense moments as Surfside Beach leaders discuss parking payment changes

Updated: Sep. 24, 2019 at 11:29 PM EDT
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SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Parking, it’s something every driver does day in and day out, wherever they go.

But in Surfside Beach, there’s a proposal that’s planning on changing the way and how much people pay to park.

Some of the changes are as follows:

  • Nonresidential property owner decals from $40 to $50. That fee has not increased since its adoption in June 2012. Allowing for 3%/year inflation since 2012 that would be an appropriate amount to charge. Limit to two decals per property; $5 for each decal for nonresident property owners to cover administrative cost ii. Value Parking Lot (not changed since 2015) from 50 cents to $1.00
  • Non-resident parking passes (not changed since 2015) from $200 to $250
  • Commercial District 30-day parking decals for business employees (not changed since 2017) from $20 to $30 ($1 per day)
  • Add 24-hour parking rate of $15 for 24 hours and allow overnight parking only in the Yaupon Drive Parking Lot
  • Weekly parking from $40 to $70 ($10 per day), and allow overnight parking only in the Yaupon Drive Parking Lot
  • New fee $5 for each decal for residents to cover the administrative cost; limit to three decals per resident
  • New fee of $500 annual

At Tuesday night’s meeting, people expressed their unhappiness with this proposed ordinance.

“There’s a couple of things I’d like to address. Overnight parking. You are going to charge people $15? Who pays for parking for 24 hours when it’s only enforced for 12? It doesn’t make any sense," one man said.

“The prior mayor, Mr. Samples, used to say it let’s have it prepared. Why would you not want it prepared correctly so you can vote on it with a clear conscious? You all just got this thing... Can you pay, can you give me some eye contact, can you pay attention? Thank you," a woman said addressing the council.

“Excuse me, I was reading," Mayor Bob Childs replied.

To this, the woman said, “I’m asking for eye contact, I’m speaking.”

Even two of the town council members expressed disapproval of some of the parking ordinances.

“I do not believe the town people who live here and pay taxes should ever have to pay to park," Councilman Bruce Dietrich said.

“I would like to thank those for speaking out about this fiasco ordinance. We are a beach community and I’ve served on this council for 12 years and I was never in favor of doing away with parking on Ocean Boulevard even though people say it was a safety issue, that was BS. Okay," Councilman Mark Johnson said.

Councilmember Debbie Scoles fired back at Johnson’s statement.

“I do not feel this is a fiasco. Mr. Pieper did what Mr. Ott and other council members asked him to do. I don’t think we need to belittle him for this. I think it’s a start and it’s up to the council to decide what’s best for the town of Surfside,” said Scoles.

By the end of the meeting, everyone agreed that some changes need to be made and there will need to be a workshop scheduled in order to look into the details of the ordinance.

“As current, I won’t support it I do recommend, there’s a whole bunch of information in here, that we do have a workshop because there’s a lot of different thoughts in this," said Councilmember David Pellegrino. "I mean it covers fees, it covers who pays who doesn’t. It covers areas to pay. So I do recommend a workshop because I won’t support this as is.”

A motion was made and it was voted to have a workshop.

“We will resolve this parking issue, it’s not going to make everyone happy but it will make most of you happy,” Dietrich said.

The date of the workshop is unknown at this time, but Childs tells me it will happen in the coming weeks.

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