ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - A judge is allowing the Isle of Palms to keep its current parking restrictions in place.
The decision comes as the first step of a lawsuit against the city which claims the Isle of Palms is restricting public access to the beach through its emergency parking rules. The group suing the city hoped the judge would suspend the current parking restrictions while the court hears the full case.
Judge Ryan Griffin declined to do so, but this is far from the end of the battle over beach access. The city says they are pleased with the judge’s ruling.
In statement, they said in part,“... primary objective is to protect the health and safety of all who live and choose to visit the beach during these unprecedented times.”
A representative for the group suing the city says with this ruling they hope other elected officials will “intervene on their behalf.” The lawsuit is part of a bigger plot to stop island governments from limiting beach access through parking changes.
Michael Barnett is not technically part of the lawsuit, but he fully supports it.
“There are really three prongs. You have the county. You get the country to try and force the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach into lifting their restrictions. You can get the state to do the same thing, they get money from the state as well and then you can sue them,” Barnett said.
He is working on getting county and state leaders involved and has started his online petition to create public pressure.
All of these efforts are converging to a single message.
“You need to say to Isle of Palms either through the county, through the voters, through politicians or legally, ‘You’re not allowed to do this, so don’t ever do it again,’” Barnett said.
The emergency ordinance creating the parking changes on the Isle of Palms expires Aug. 16, but the city is meeting next Thursday to review the current restrictions.