By Paul Gable
The SC General Assembly entered the parking fee debate when local legislators Jeff Johnson and Kevin Hardee filed a bill requiring equal treatment of residents and non-residents alike, with respect to on street parking, unless otherwise approved by the General Assembly.
Ordinarily, such decisions should remain at the local level. However, the arrogance that the City of Myrtle Beach has demonstrated in its attempts to effectively privatize the stretch of Ocean Boulevard known as the “Golden Mile” to homeowners in that area, does need tempering.
One finding of the bill reads, “Whereas, the right to park on a public street is not a right incident to ownership of abutting land but rather one that is incident to use of the street for travel and commerce and one which is rightly shared by all members of the public, …”
The key section of the bill that relates directly to the Golden Mile controversy reads, “”Section 5-7-320. Any ordinance, resolution, or regulation of any municipality regarding on-street parking privileges for residents of a municipality that are not available on the same terms to nonresidents of the municipality of that county must be approved only by the General Assembly.”
The bill was filed so late in the current legislative year that it will not be acted upon until the second year of the current legislative session, which begins in January 2018. It is unknown how much support the bill will garner among legislators, but it could be considerable.
Immediately before the bill was filed, a contingent of mayors from the coastal cities was in Columbia lobbying for the General Assembly to provide an annual, dedicated revenue stream to ongoing fund beach renourishment.
If these mayors want tax dollars from throughout the state to be pledged to renourishing the beaches from which the commerce and citizens of their respective communities thrive, it seems only fair that the taxpayers providing this revenue be treated in exactly the same manner as the citizens of the respective communities.
The current city council and administration of the City of Myrtle Beach arrogantly takes a different view. That is why it’s time for changes.