The policy for handicap parking at Myrtle Beach International Airport has changed and will come at a cost to those who use those spaces.

Before, anyone with a handicap placard or license plate could park at the airport for free. Now, parking in the short or long-term lot is only free for the first 24 hours. After that, regular rates apply, which is up to $21 per day in the short-term lot and $10 per day in the long-term lot, 

“I really don’t think it’s fair. I really don’t,” said Mary Adams. 

Her daughter, Denise Landhan, picked her from MYR on Tuesday after flying in from New Jersey. Landhan suffers from a lung condition that makes it difficult to walk long distances. She said she parks in handicap spaces everywhere she goes, but that could now cost her whens he comes to MYR.  

“Right now I’m retired living on a fixed income. It would be difficult,” said Landhan.

“We pay for enough things. We’re handicap. You need all the services you can get,” added Adams.

Horry County Council recently decided to impose the parking fee. A state law does prohibit municipalities from charging for handicap parking. However, according to Councilman Johnny Vaught, council discussed the matter with an attorney and learned the law only applies to cities, not counties. Vaught said council made the change out of necessity.

“It was being taken advantage of pretty solidly. There were cars that would be there for 5 and 6 days … and they were parking free because they had their handicap tag.”

Vaught said anyone looking to leave their car at the airport for that amount of time, should park in the long-term lot. If distance is an issue, he said a shuttle to the terminal is available.

“Whether you were paying for it or not, leaving your car there for days, that’s sort of violating the purpose and reason for having a short-term parking lot,” 

Lendhan’s sister, Karen Adams, said she understands the issue and proposed a compromise.

“I know people probably do abuse the system but a discount rate that would probably help people a lot,” she said.