Isle of Palms Mayor looks to ease parking restrictions

VIDEO: Isle of Palms Mayor looks to ease parking restrictions

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - Leaders on the Isle of Palms say they might be easing up their parking restrictions following Thursday’s Emergency Council meeting.

IOP Mayor Jimmy Carroll says the parking restriction did not help lower the number of COVID-19 cases on the island, he and the council will discuss the reopening process for beach parking.

“We hated to close the beaches,” Carroll said. “We were trying to work together. We’re all in this together. And we were trying to take drastic steps to see if it would help us. And it hasn’t helped us. So now let’s try another layer.”

Officials say the current emergency ordinance is planned to expire Sunday, but it has reduced parking by 50% in municipal lots and prohibited non-residents from parking on Palm Boulevard between 3rd and 9th Avenues.

At Thursday’s meeting however, the Mayor says they could vote to reopen majority of that street parking, specifically on Palm Blvd.

“I would hope that people that come to the beach would utilize some of our services out here,” Carroll said. “We’re not doing it just for that aspect, we’re doing it to try to give people some beach access and to see if that maybe helps us. We were told in the beginning that the COVID 19 was going to go down in the summertime during the heat. It hasn’t happened.”

Carroll says this is the first step, and they hope to also finalize a full reopening plan for all parking.

He also added this is not in response to the group who filed a lawsuit against IOP last week. He said SCDOT ruled that "municipal governments have a sole authority to regulate parking within their boundaries."

A majority of the parking lots will likely still have some restricted parking, but Carroll says they will open in the coming weeks.

Officials say the meeting will be at 10 a.m., and all public comments need to be submitted beforehand.

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