CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A judge declined a motion for an injunction designed to stop the Isle of Palms from prohibiting non-residents from parking in certain areas.
The emergency hearing took place at 11 a.m. in a virtual hearing.
Judge Ryan Griffin denied the motion, siding with Isle of Palms leaders who argued they have the authority to restrict parking during the ongoing state of emergency.
City Administrator Desirée Fragoso released a statement on behalf of the city shortly after the judge’s decision:
The City of Isle of Palm’s primary objective is to protect the health and safety of all who live and choose to visit the beach during these unprecedented times. We are pleased with the decision today and continue to work toward this objective. With that said, Council is scheduled to meet on Thursday, August 13th to review the City’s emergency ordinance.
Members of a Facebook group called “Charleston Area Public Beach Access and Parking” filed a lawsuit against the city over the July 15 parking ordinance that limited where visitors can park.
The rules reduced parking by 50 percent in municipal lots and prohibited non-residents from parking on Palm Boulevard between 3rd and 9th Avenues.
It also made similar restrictions for parking on Hartnett Boulevard between 27th and 29th Avenues. Violations come with a $100 fine. The lawsuit argues by limiting parking they are limiting beach access for non-residents.
The group’s attorney, Tommy Goldstein, called the issue “a very important matter to a large number of people.” He said every lost opportunity to visit the beach is an opportunity that cannot be remedied any by any way other than an injunction.
“They didn’t pass a parking ban,” Goldstein said. “They passed a ban on who can park.”
Isle of Palms City Attorney Andrew Lindemann said the city acted on its authority.
“It’s not a restriction on access,” he said. “It’s a limitation on access.”
Lindemann said he doesn’t believe that inconvenience equals irreparable harm. He said parking is available. People have to come early or make other arrangements, but there’s no irreparable harm there to the extent that would require a court to intervene.
Griffin noted that there are at least 800 parking spaces for non-residents within the vicinity of the beach. He said that it is important to note that the beach itself has not been closed to non-residents.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.