By Paul Gable
It is quite possible that Myrtle Beach City Council is collecting parking fees in areas that restrict such activity.
No, this is not about the federal grant for beach renourishment. It is potentially a lot more serious.
A review of deeds from 1940, 1968 and 1992, in which Myrtle Beach Farms gave land to the city along the oceanfront brought to light some interesting deed restrictions and covenants.
Most interesting is a restriction on all three deeds that says, “…property shall not be used for commercial purposes by any person, private corporation, municipal corporation or agency of government.”
Collecting fees to park is certainly a commercial purpose, especially when the city has seen fit to outsource the collection to a private, third party corporation.
Many of today’s street ends, especially in the south end of the city where parking fees have been charged for a number of years, came from land that was given to the city in these deeds.
The restriction on commercial activity appears to include the boardwalk area also.
Unfortunately, Myrtle Beach City Council is going to continue with its current practices until someone forces them to change through the courts. Remember the helmet law?
A lawsuit would be very interesting, however. Can you imagine the city having to refund parking fees it has collected for a number of years if it is established in court that the deed restrictions were violated?
This could have an obvious effect on the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, an agency of dubious value, which uses parking fees for funding.
Another of the restrictions and covenants makes the possibility of a lawsuit interesting. Rather than just between the grantor and grantee of the land involved, the deeds say, “Compliance with the above (restrictions) may be enforced in any manner by grantor or grantee…or by any owner of real property within (Myrtle Beach) claiming by or through grantor or grantee or its predecessors entitled.”
In other words, it appears any property owner in Myrtle Beach can challenge the legality of collecting parking fees on land acquired by these deeds, regardless of the fact that it now includes many street ends.
According to sources familiar with the deeds, the idea was that public areas of the oceanfront would remain open to all without any type of encumbrance. Reportedly the attitude was ‘we don’t want Myrtle Beach to become like Miami Beach.’
Unfortunately, there is a cabal within the city that does what it wants to serve its own ends with no consideration for the general populace of the city or the many visitors who come each year.