North Myrtle Beach talks about changing cost of oceanfront parking

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – North Myrtle Beach city leaders are talking about changing the price of oceanfront parking for city residents. City Council is discussing creating parking permits for residents to use in four oceanfront lots.

The City of North Myrtle Beach started charging for parking in four oceanfront lots earlier this year because of workers at nearby resorts, according to city spokesperson Pat Dowling. “The employees have been using the oceanfront parking and we understand that it’s a convenience. The problem is they’re in there eight to ten hours a day, and residents and visitors can’t use the spots,” he said.

Dowling says the city is now trying to appease residents who aren’t happy with the change. “Residents have asked for it. And the city promised they would do it.” At it’s meeting on Monday night, City Council will discuss whether city residents will have to pay for a parking pass in order to park at city-owned lots on 3rd Avenue North, 4th Avenue North,  4th Avenue South, and 27th Avenues South, for free. Permanent residents would pay $5 for the sticker each year, and part-time residents would pay $100 each year. Dowling said, “Myrtle Beach does the same thing. They offer a non-resident property owner sticker. It’s a courtesy to them.”

Phil and Alva Reightler live near 4th Avenue North and usually drive their golf cart to the beach. They say the proposed parking permit, “sounds a little excessive, especially when there’s so many free spots. It doesn’t make any sense,” said Phil. The Reightler’s say they’re opposed to paying for a sticker, on principle. “We spend our money on Main [Street]. We pay taxes to the city and county, so why should we have to pay to park at our beach?” said Phil.

However, Dowling says the city has no plans to extend paid parking beyond the four lots. “This is not the start of a soon-to-come, city-wide paid parking program. We’re trying to resolve some issues, at the few, very large accommodations we have in the city,” he said. The proposed parking changes are coming before North Myrtle Beach city council for the first time on Monday night.