They say they want to get ahead of the decision that will be made by North Myrtle Beach to be sure people who live in the county are given the same opportunities as people who live in the city when it comes to parking.
The city currently charges one dollar per hour for parking in four lots: Oceanfront at 4th Avenue North and 3rd Avenue North, second row at 4th Avenue South, and oceanfront at 27th Avenue South.
The city’s new program would charge permanent residents $5 per year for a sticker and $100 for non-resident property owners for spots in the paid lots.
City Spokesperson Pat Dowling told News13 earlier this week that city residents requested the change because employees of nearby resorts were taking up spots. Dowling says that this is an optional exemption program for each resident property owner and non-resident property owner.
Horry County Council member Johnny Vaught says he wants any person who lives in the county to also be able to qualify for that exemption and park where city residents can park for the same price.
“We share all kinds of expenses with those cities that we don’t charge them for and, you know, we’re all citizens of the same county,” said Vaught.
A similar parking proposal was implemented along a portion of North Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach known as the Golden Mile.
Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus went before the City of Myrtle Beach then to request that county residents have the same options as city residents and says he’d do the same for North Myrtle Beach.
“I’ll explore the same thing as I have for the City of Myrtle Beach that the county residents be able to purchase a parking sticker and be allowed to park anywhere that a city resident can by utilizing that parking sticker,” said Lazarus.
The City of Myrtle Beach denied the county’s request to have county residents purchase parking stickers like city residents earlier this year, and after, the county denied the City of Myrtle Beach hundreds of thousands of dollars, siting the parking changes as one of the main reasons.
“We’re sticking to our guns, you know, we’re not changing the fact that we’re withholding the $300k from the Superblock thing that they want to do with the library and museum and we’re holding the line on the $35K because they will not allow Horry County citizens that don’t live in Myrtle Beach to have a library card without paying for it, and we don’t feel like that’s fair,” said Vaught.
Right now, Horry County gives the city of North Myrtle Beach about $800K for roads and about $42K for recreation. While no real threat to pull funds from the city, county leaders say they’d be willing to fight if the city can’t cooperate.
“You know, what’s right is right. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Surfside, or Garden City, or Myrtle Beach or North Myrtle Beach. What’s right is right, you know and they’re all part of Horry County,” said Vaught.
City Spokesperson Pat Dowling says the city has 123 paid public parking spaces and over 1,400 free public parking spaces, but declined to comment on whether or not the city would consider allowing county residents the same exemption as people who live in the city. He says the county could have to make a request to city council or city manager, and so far, that hasn’t happened.
The city expects the exemption parking program will go into effect in July.
Below is the city’s announcement to implement the parking changes: