Group demanding elimination of beach & parking restrictions on Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island

Updated: Aug. 28, 2020 at 6:05 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A group is demanding the elimination of emergency beach and parking restrictions on Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island.

The Charleston Beach Foundation sent letters to Sullivan’s Island Mayor Patrick O’Neill and town council members, as well as to Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin and city council members requesting all beach and parking emergency restrictions should be eliminated or be allowed to expire on or before Sept. 14.

This comes weeks after a lawsuit was filed against the Isle of Palms for their current parking restrictions put in place to cut down on crowd sizes due to COVID-19.

Organizers say if the issues they have raised are not resolved in a timely manner, the Charleston Beach Foundation will pursue “remedies at the local, county, state and federal level.”

The group argues that since schools and colleges are back in session, and summer vacations are over, the public is less likely to travel to the beach and there would be a decreased concern over crowding and social distancing on the beaches.

The Charleston Beach Foundation said that current restrictions on Folly Beach have a detrimental effect on people who want to visit the beach, as well as businesses and church-goers as people are unable to find parking, or forced to pay on private lots who charge exorbitant fees.

They cite the city’s rules on limiting parking to those who are residents or authorized renters, decreasing the number of parking spaces available to the public, and $150 parking violation fines as restrictions that should be eliminated.

Their full letter to Folly Beach can be found below.

The group said in its letter to Sullivan’s Island leadership that their restrictions also have a harmful effect on the general public who want to visit the beach as well as businesses in town.

They say the town’s rule on prohibiting visitors to have a beach chair on the beach discriminates against people, including the elderly, who for health reasons need a chair. Officials with the group said the town’s $100 fines for emergency ordinance violations is also violating the South Carolina Constitution which prohibits excessive fines.

The group’s letter to Sullivan’s Island can be found below.

The group said their purpose is to allow general beach access to the state’s beaches and protect them.

Officials said the Charleston Beach Foundation is a newly formed charitable organization formed with the support of over 8,000 members of the Facebook group, the “Charleston Area Public Beach Access and Parking Group.”

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