CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County leaders are considering their options when it comes to fighting the City of Myrtle Beach’s plan to have county residents pay for parking. One councilman has suggested the county pull Horry County Police officers from helping Myrtle Beach during Memorial Day Bikefest.
Council members claim they’ve tried to work with Myrtle Beach leaders to allow county residents to park in certain areas, particularly along the “Golden Mile,” which spans the northern avenues through 82nd Avenue North. The county claims the city refuses to compromise.
The controversy over paid parking in the Golden Mile has been an ongoing issue for months. But now Horry County leaders say they’re prepared to play hardball, and leverage their position to fight for county residents. Part of that leverage, according to councilman Dennis DiSabato, is pulling county officer from big Myrtle Beach events, like bike week.
“They’re not willing to compromise,” claims DiSabato. “The city seems to be treating residents of unincorporated Horry County as though they are just tourists.”
Prior to July 2016, parking was free for anyone along the Golden Mile, but now for those who don’t live in Myrtle Beach city limits, parking requires payment.
DiSabato says people who live in Horry County shop, eat, and spend money in Myrtle Beach and for them to have to pay is unfair.
“We need to find some methods by which to leverage an opportunity to sit down with officials in the City of Myrtle Beach and have a good faith conversation about what we can do to resolve this situation fairly for both the city and their residents as well as the residents of unincorporated Horry County,” suggests DiSabato.
While DiSabato suggests the county’s leverage is its police force, Chief Joseph Hill with the Horry County Police Department says his officers man the traffic loop, and keeping everyone safe during an event like bike week takes a total collaborative effort from law enforcement.
“It’s important that we participate and that we have a collaborative mindset in which we do so,” says DiSabato. “We’re all working for the same goal, to keep Horry County a beautiful place to live, work, and play.”
City of Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Mark Kruea says the city currently has no plans to change its parking plan.
“I don’t really anticipate any other changes,” confirms Kruea. “What city council’s goal was, was to protect the neighbors, and that has occurred.”
DiSabato says council has asked the county attorney to look at what legal action the county could take against Myrtle Beach. Horry County Council will discuss those notes in a meeting on March 7 in executive session.