NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Changes could be coming to North Myrtle Beach’s paid parking program during the summer season.
The city council discussed on Wednesday the new parking study put out by the city. It focused on continuing and improving the changes the city already implemented in 2019.
The city launched a paid parking program in June that lasted through October. It involved public parking spaces on either side of Ocean Boulevard.
The city also extended 12 oceanfront parking lots, which created 200 new spaces. There were 46 paid parking locations where more than 60,000 vehicles paid to park.
Some of the changes discussed during Wednesday’s workshop include allowing residents to be able to purchase an additional parking decal for $200. Currently, those who live in North Myrtle Beach can apply for two free parking decals in order to avoid paying for parking at the newly implemented meters.
North Myrtle Beach resident June Donlon said she appreciates the decal and makes her feel like the city cares about her needs.
“The decal at least lets the person know that you live here and that they’re honored here," Donlon said.
The study also recommended the city start charging $2 per hour on some side streets. The city said this would encourage people to park closer to the beach at those beachfront lots instead of parking in the neighborhoods near people’s homes.
The city also discussed an idea to allow Horry County neighbors who don’t live in North Myrtle Beach to obtain a decal but it would cost $200 and only 200 decals would be allowed.
Despite some backlash over the paid parking from those who don’t live in North Myrtle Beach, Donlon said she believes that tourist should have to pay and said the changes have improved parking issues during peak seasons.
“Anywhere you go in the United States, even if you’re a resident you have to pay for parking. I think actually the technique they use here they should incorporate throughout the United States," Donlon said.
City council members agreed on the refinements to the parking program for the 2020 season, but the changes will not be effective until the city amends its parking ordinance in the near future.