McMaster signs bill to boost free parking at S.C. beaches

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 8:19 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - Gov. Henry McMaster has signed a bill that would ensure free parking and state control along public roads in beach towns. The bill would allow some paid parking, but requires beach towns to provide some free parking to visitors as well.

Last week, the Isle of Palms City Council vowed to fight the bill arguing it would take away some of its control over regulating parking “by all lawful means.” City leaders said Senate Bill 40 treats it and other barrier island communities differently when it comes to offering free and paid parking.

The bill would also require local governments to get prior approval from the Department of Transportation before adding or making changes to parking on state highways.

The governor released a statement on the passing of the bill and said although he recognizes that certain provisions of the legislation are “particularly controversial,” he said the source of the concerns are not the law itself but the recent circumstances the bill is meant to address.

McMaster said the bill stems from the actions of one or more coastal communities to limit beach parking access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Although I appreciate the significant, legitimate concerns of interested parties on both sides of these important issues, I believe that this legislation represents a reasonable effort to clarify existing law in a manner that will facilitate further cooperation and compromise,” McMaster said.

Also in the news ...

  • Beachgoers will have more parking options in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach. The city recently purchased land on both sides of Ocean Boulevard near “The Point” and it is now available for paid public parking. It offers a total of 75 parking spaces and four handicap spaces. Paid parking is in effect every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March through October and the parking fee is $2 per hour. Those who have parking decals are also allowed to park at the new lots.

From reports by WCSC and WMBF