Post Tagged with: "parking fees"

City Has Potential Nuclear Option in Parking Fee Issue

March 30, 2017 3:39 PM
City Has Potential Nuclear Option in Parking Fee Issue

The City of Myrtle Beach holds a potential nuclear option that could blow up the current parking fee debate between the city and Horry County into a much bigger and more explosive issue.

Nuclear options in political discussion come in various categories. One we hear about often is a threatened change in U.S. Senate rules that could effectively prohibit filibusters.

However, the nuclear option that Myrtle Beach appears to hold could change taxation for many residents within the county, both inside and outside the city limits.

A little background:

The city and county have been at odds over parking fees and areas they are charged in Myrtle Beach city limits.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus has addressed city council on several occasions attempting to reach some type of compromise that would allow county residents to pay $100 per year for a parking decal that would allow county residents to park at all city owned paid parking locations.

To date, the city has been reluctant to adopt Lazarus’ plan.

Personally, I don’t believe any of the city’s parking fees are justified, especially because they go to fund the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, a notoriously underperforming enterprise.

In response to the city’s reticence, county council voted last week to not include $200,000 for the city’s planned museum/library complex and $30,000 specifically for Chapin Memorial Library in the county budget. The city requested both amounts.

At Tuesday’s Myrtle Beach City Council meeting, council member Mary Jeffcoat requested city staff to prepare a review of the amount of property tax revenue city residents pay to the county and what services city residents receive as a result of those taxes.

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Parking Fees Discussed by City/County Council Members

September 30, 2016 6:28 AM
Parking Fees Discussed by City/County Council Members

The parking fee issue in Myrtle Beach seems to get a little more convoluted each week.

Earlier this week, a group called the Beach Coalition held a meeting at Longbeard’s in Carolina Forest to discuss issues surrounding the parking fees.

Attending the meeting were county council chairman Mark Lazarus and council members Bill Howard, Jimmy Washington and Johnny Vaught. Randal Wallace from Myrtle Beach City Council was also in attendance.

Members of the coalition group are unhappy with the rather cavalier manner in which Myrtle Beach city council treats issues such as parking fees.

With regard to the fee itself, Lazarus said there is going to be a parking fee for county residents when they park in beach access areas.

Additionally, Lazarus said the fee has to be reasonable for everybody and nobody is going to pay $300 (for a parking decal). The $300 figure was thrown out by Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes at a recent forum held with citizens.

Lazarus said the city and county would establish a “steering committee” to address the issue.

Wallace said something had to be done about parking in beach access in the Golden Mile and surrounding areas. He seemed to blame the fee on litter finding its way to the properties of Golden Mile residents.

Wallace said maybe the $10 per day parking fee now being charged to non-city residents wasn’t the best answer to the problem. He said he was sure city council wants to work with county council to address the parking fee issue.

Wallace admitted to the crowd that all parking fees collected in the city go to the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation. For many years, the DRC has accomplished little in the way of redevelopment and virtually none in the city’s historic downtown in the area of City Hall, Five Points and adjacent areas.

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Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Flaws

September 25, 2016 6:18 AM
Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Flaws

The more parking fees for non-city residents are discussed by Myrtle Beach City Council, the more flaws come to light in the distorted arguments of council members.

Since instituting parking fees along the “Golden Mile” strip of the oceanfront in July, city officials have heard increasing complaints from county residents and business owners.

The parking fees appear to violate deed restrictions included when Myrtle Beach Farms transferred company owned land to the city along the oceanfront. This violation not only applies to parking areas charging fees along the Golden Mile, but also to the many areas in the south end of the city where parking fees have been charged for a number of years.

One of the deed restrictions states, “…property shall not be used for commercial purposes by any person, private corporation, municipal corporation or agency of government.”

At a community forum last week where the parking issue was addressed, several city council members tried to argue that parking fees charged by the city are not a commercial venture. Instead, the arguments framed the fees as ‘more of a tax.’

However, taxing citizens for using city owned property is also a commercial venture. To argue any differently is to attempt to cloud the issue with semantics.

Mayor John Rhodes, reportedly, offered the possibility of selling parking decals to local, non-city residents for $300 per year. Rhodes said the $300 would equate to what city residents pay to the city in vehicle taxes each year.

This is ridiculous on several levels. I submit $300 equates to the average city tax paid on vehicles multiplied by a factor of five.

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Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Lawsuit Pondered

August 11, 2016 5:46 AM
Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Lawsuit Pondered

A lawsuit against the City of Myrtle Beach for its paid parking areas along the oceanfront is being considered by property owners.

The basis of the lawsuit would be city violations of deed restrictions and covenants included in property transfers years ago.

Deeds from 1940 and 1968 in which Myrtle Beach Farms gave oceanfront property to the city include restrictions against commercial activity on the deeded property.

In the intervening years, some of that property has been converted to street ends and beach access on which the city now charges visitors to park.

According to a real estate attorney with considerable experience in the county, the deed restrictions do not go away on the portions of the property converted to public thoroughfares.

The deeds restrictions prohibit commercial activity by any “person, private corporation, municipal corporation or agency or instrumentality of government.” The land is specifically designated to be kept as a public park or common.

The city appears to violate these restrictions in several ways. The parking fees and fines are collected and disbursed by a private corporation contracted by city government. The city’s portion of the revenue goes to fund the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, an agency created by the city.

The DRC is its own challenged organization, having accomplished little in the way of redevelopment and virtually none in the city’s historic downtown in the area of City Hall, Five Points and adjacent areas.

The DRC has set its sights on the oceanfront and rumored major new development projects that would first require the squeezing out of small business owners currently operating along sections of Ocean Boulevard.

Many have speculated that the parking fees in question will help squeeze out small business owners by limiting tourist traffic to their businesses.

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Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Problems

July 28, 2016 6:11 AM
Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Problems

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.

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