County Councilman Harold Worley says City of Myrtle Beach Parking Fees Illegal…
Not congruent with 1995 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Contract
Mayor John Rhodes says city can charge county residents for Golden Mile parking
On July 5, 2016 the City of Myrtle Beach began charging county residents and tourists for parking in what was once free parking areas in the golden mile of Myrtle Beach.
Federal officials are now reviewing those parking fees to determine if the new city ordinance is legal as it relates to a contract that provides the city millions of federal taxpayer dollars for beach re-nourishment projects.
Horry County Councilman Harold Worley says the fees run counter to the intent of the language in a 1995 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract.
The language in the contract reads, “the city shall provide and maintain necessary access roads, parking areas and other public use facilities open and available to all on equal terms.”
Worley says the city is now in violation of that contract because parking access is no longer provided.
“It’s not equal because they’re charging Horry County residents to park and they’re not charging Myrtle Beach residents, and that’s wrong,” Worley said.
Myrtle Beach Mayor, John Rhodes, says city residents are paying for beach access parking through their vehicle taxes paid annually.
“You cannot get a parking permit as a city resident unless you have paid property taxes on a vehicle and that allows you to have a parking pass,” Rhodes said.
“Mr.Worley is incorrect. The City of Myrtle Beach is in compliance with the 1995 document,” Rhodes said.
“Our residents pay for parking and if you live in Myrtle Beach and you pay property taxes but your car is not registered, you don’t get a parking pass,” Rhodes said.
The new parking fees eliminated free parking along the Golden Mile, except to Myrtle Beach residents only. Parking meters were also installed along access lots located at the end of city streets in the Golden Mile area of Myrtle Beach. Tourists and country residents must pay $2 an hour or $10 a day. Any non-city residents found not paying will be ticketed. City residents are allowed to park free in those areas with a city parking decal.
“True they can charge, but they have to charge everybody,” Worley said.
The Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston is now on task to examine the contract to determine if Myrtle Beach’s new parking ordinance is legal per the 1995 agreement. Sean McBride, of the Army Corps of Engineers said he expects to have an answer next week.
MyrtleBeachSC.com has monitored the parking areas this week after the new fees took effect. We found those lots largely empty before noon. We did find the lots full as of 2 p.m. on Friday July 15th. The new fees have been an item of concern for both county residents and off the ocean guests since the new fees were put in place.
Should the Army Corps of Engineers find the City of Myrtle Beach Parking Fees Illegal, it would be the second time the city passed an ordinance of this type that was overturned. Just under 10 years ago, the City of Myrtle Beach passed a mandatory motorcycle helmet law that the S.C. Supreme court found invalid.
UPDATE: JULY 19th Army Corps of Engineers rules that City of Myrtle Beach parking fees do NOT violate the 1995 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract. The city parking fees ordinance stands.
Related articles across the web
- Corps to reduce water flow from Lake Okeechobee
- Groundwater testing begins in Parks Township
- Federal action sought for Florida coastline tainted by algae
- With Tourism Down Local Leader Says End Tourist Tax