Myrtle Beach Council discusses ways to make downtown private parking less confusing

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Myrtle Beach City Council met Tuesday to address concerns that private parking lot owners are not displaying accurate pricing and that they need to make it clear where people’s cars are being towed in a violation. 

Part of the updated ordinance “requires private parking lot owners to post notice of restrictions, contact information, times of operation, fixed cost of parking and towing information.” 

The city said they’ve received several complaints over the summer about private parking lots showing signs reading “$5 All Day,” but when customers park their car to pay, they are being told $5 is only for a few hours, not the entire day. 

“It really is deceptive,” said Horry County resident, Beaulah Lee. 

Lee said she is frustrated by this because she experienced pulling into a lot on Monday afternoon that read “$5 All Day Parking.” She said the attendant motioned her into the lot, saying the price was $5 for all-day parking. Once she parked her car and got out to pay, she said she verified the price with the attendant again. “So I said it’s five dollars all day right?” said Lee. “He said ‘no it’s $5 for three hours and $10 all day,’ so I said forget it.” 

Lot owner Chris Walker has some issues with council’s proposed changes, including the price tag to him. “If I’ve got four or five parking lots, four or five times each entrance, that’s thousands and thousands of dollars,” Walker said.
He said uniform signage would hurt him because his prices change based off weather, time of year and demand. 

“If that parking lot is full within my first 20 minutes of opening, it would be silly of me to charge five dollars and sit there full all day,” Walker said.

The city said the ordinance will not specify what rate private lots should charge but rather require lots to post those rates clearly. 

“If you are going to offer a variable rate, say from June to July it’s one thing, well change out the rate on the sign,” City Spokesperson Mark Kruea said.

Council passed first reading of the updated parking ordinance four-to-two with council members Jackie Vereen and Phil Render saying more time is needed to hash out the details.

Council said before second reading they want to hold a meeting with downtown lot and business owners.

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