North Myrtle Beach may increase parking fees; beach bike restrictions postponed again

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 11:31 PM EST
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - At Monday night’s North Myrtle Beach city council meeting, the much-anticipated vote on the first reading of an ordinance restricting bicycle and electric bicycle use on the beach was tabled again.

“I think we’d like to have a workshop on this to make sure we get it right,” said Councilman J.O. Baldwin, III, Mayor Pro Tempore.

In attendance at the meeting local bike shop owner Eric Williams, says this ordinance has been pushed for months.

“We’ve been waiting since May and we’ve been having discussions through emails and phone calls with councilmembers. We just don’t seem to be making much traction,” said Williams.

Williams has an issue with the ordinance, which seeks to ban bikes, including electric bikes from the beach from May 15 to Sept.15, during the summer season. The ban would be in effect daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. which is when his business is the busiest.

“Electric bikes shouldn’t be included in this ordinance because federal and state law classifies a class two e-bike as a bicycle,” said Williams.

The council hopes to hold a workshop in January and take a deep dive into the questions and concerns with this ordinance. In the meantime, reactions to the proposal along Main street were mixed.

“I feel that safety issue is the biggest thing. People bring their families here, small children like to play right at the edge of the water. It would be horrible if something happened,” said Carla Johnston

“I have never actually seen anybody ride their bike on the beach and I really don’t understand what the safety issue would be,” said Mary Durrante.

Also on the agenda, is an ordinance proposing an increase in the parking fees from $2 to $3 dollars. It passed the first reading.

“We need that revenue stream and of course, as you are all aware, if you live in the city and are a city resident you can get a decal for your car or golf cart. The $2 fee is paid by those who utilize the parking lots, whether they are tourists or live outside the city,” said Mahaney.

“Everything is going up and how are people supposed to make it if you don’t add the increase,” said Kim Banfield.

“I say leave it where it is because it is cheaper for me,” said Durrante.

Two other ordinances passed the first readings tonight. One which would allow towing companies that place immobilization devices on your car, like a boot on your tire for example. The company could charge a $50 fee to remove the boot instead of towing right off the bat. This ordinance hopes to protect the public from paying unreasonable fees.

The other ordinance that passed would allow homeowners to have someone trespassing on their property charged immediately if owners have a “no trespassing” sign on their property. Council members felt it could help homeowners who don’t live here year-round.