Letter To The Editor: Residents First, Not So Much

Dear Editor,

Last fall’s election swept in a new council. Its mantra was “Putting the residents FIRST”. Well, it’s been four months and let’s see how it’s doing. At the last council meeting members managed to do just the opposite. They voted to make the Beach Parking Plan year round, instead of running only during the summer tourist season. What that means for residents is that they cannot have guests to their homes and park in the right of way at their property without a parking pass, which the resident has to procure from the city. So when you have a Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years’ or any other party or gathering between October and May, you must have your guests display this pass or they can be ticketed for illegally parking in the residents only areas of the city. Strike one against the residents.

Then Council voted to make Palm Blvd. ONLY parallel parking. This idea has been pushed by Jimmy Carroll for years. There is some merit for the idea but the unintended consequences are huge. During the busiest tourist times anyone coming onto the island and wanting to park on the non-ocean side of Palm Blvd. will have to either try and make an illegal U-turn or will have to take a left, cut thru the neighborhoods to get their cars going the right direction in order to park. This will mean loads of eager beach visitors will be speeding down Cameron, Hartnett or Waterway eager to get to the spot they saw available for parking. Of course by the time they make this detour to get their car going the right direction to park that space may well be taken by another eager tourist. Strike two against the residents.

It was a busy council meeting and our “new” council wasn’t done yet. Last year council, listening to residents’ concerns, made Waterway Blvd. resident parking only. That was not good enough for our eager new council. It has voted to make Waterway not only resident only, but now there is NO boat trailer parking at all. Who does this punish? Residents who may want to park their trailer on Waterway, for whatever reason, after they put their boat in the water. Strike three against the residents.

As citizens it is our responsibility to know what our elected officials are doing. I’m sure they would love to see us attend every council meeting. We are already 0 for 3 putting “residents first.” They have more in mind. There is talk to making Palm Blvd. a paid parking area. This may sound attractive, and was considered before, when the parking plan was being developed. If council moves to make this happen the law states that the city CANNOT differentiate between residents and non-residents. If we charge for parking, residents will also have to pay to park on Palm Blvd. (No different than everyone having to feed the parking meters at Front Beach.) If this were to happen “residents first” would be 0 for 4.

The city website lists all the meeting agendas so you can keep track of our council and let them know what you think. Thanks for taking the time to listen.

Barbara Bergwerf

Isle of Palms

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