CofC students concerned about safety following assaults, parking situation

Updated: Jan. 31, 2018 at 5:16 PM EST
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61 Vandy on Vanderhorst Street (Source: Live 5)
61 Vandy on Vanderhorst Street (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Some College of Charleston Students are concerned about their parking situation following an assault on Vanderhorst Street in downtown Charleston last week.

Alex Lowery and Samantha Udet are sophomores at the school and live at the new 61 Vandy apartments on Vanderhorst Street.

Lowery and Udet said at the beginning of the year they were able to obtain parking passes from the DMV in order to park in the residential area near their building.

"This month our tags started expiring and when we went back to renew it they told us we can't do that anymore," Lowery said.

On Dec. 19, Charleston City Council approved an ordinance change within the residential parking district.

The ordinance states, "No more than two residential parking decals shall be issued to each residential unit, and no more than six residential parking permits shall be issued per Charleston County TMS Number".

This means of the more than 30 apartment units at 61 Vandy, only six residential parking permits are allowed for the location.

"I have to long-board here from a neighborhood roughly 20 minutes away where I now park my car," Udet said. "That's the only place where I can find that it's free and since we're college students, we're kind of tight on cash. I had to quit my job because I couldn't transport myself there in order to make money."

While Lowery and Udet said they're trying to figure out a solution to the parking issue, they also have another issue, one that deals with their safety.

Charleston police said on Jan. 23 around 9 p.m. a College of Charleston student was assaulted and fondled at the corner of Pitt and Vanderhorst streets.

That location is less than 30 yards from where Lowery and Udet live.

"It's scary," Udet said. "I'm forced to walk late at night from my car… I actually bought pepper spray after hearing about that."

"I work on King Street until late at night, and it's scary to think something like that didn't happen that late at night," Lowery said.

Mike Kivitz, a spokesperson for 61 Vandy, released a statement Wednesday afternoon stating:

"We understand and are most appreciative of the frustrations that our residents are experiencing with the recent change regarding street/city parking in our community. Our team has been working with our residents whom have been affected by this unexpected change and we, too, are seeking additional parking options nearby. 

In addition, we are having the necessary conversations with the City of Charleston in support of our affected residents. We are hopeful that these discussions will lead to a fruitful and timely outcome for all parties."

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