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Sullivan’s Island Approves Paid Parking Resolution

By Jennifer Tuohy, Island Eye News Editor

Linda Perkis with Mayor Perkis’ bronzed gavel.

Linda Perkis with Mayor Perkis’ bronzed gavel.

The November 2014 Sullivan’s Island Town Council meeting opened with a moving tribute to late Mayor Mike Perkis, who passed away Oct. 7, 2014. A special resolution honoring the Mayor and proclaiming Oct. 10, 2014 Mayor Mike Perkis Day, was made. Each member of council then spoke movingly about the late Mayor, followed by his son, Josh Perkis. The Mayor’s bronzed gavel was presented to his wife Linda.

Paid Parking on Sullivan’s

A resolution authorizing the establishment of

a managed parking plan on Sullivan’s Island was passed unanimously by council. Councilman Chauncey Clark explained that the town is working on a parking plan that will parallel that of Isle of Palms, who has initiated a move to install a paid parking system on its streets. If Sullivan’s does not follow suit, he said, then the island will likely be inundated when Isle of Palms implements its plan next spring.

We are about 1,800 residents,” he said. “We’ve been about 1,800 for about 200 years. Mount Pleasant is not constant—they are growing.

Whatever IOP does if we don’t mimic that, we know what will going to happen. There have been a lot of complaints about having to pay to park as it’s a free beach—but fully half our town finance is for police and fire. We wouldn’t need all that if we didn’t have them visit the beach. We want them to visit, they’re our guests, but we need to ask for their help now.” Clark stressed that the town’s current approach is to be ready to “pull the trigger” on a parking system if needed, i.e. if Isle of Palms institutes its parking plan.

We don’t have to, we could wait a year and see how it goes, take a hit for a year,” he said. “The hard part however, is going to be the policies. Everyone will have to pay, so what do I do about a dinner party, church, doctor visit? We need to have your input on those. The good news is it’s easy to change these policies with the system we’re proposing. We may make mistakes but we can change things.”

The parking system being considered is an internet-based ticketing program, where the owner of the vehicle registers it online, pays for the pass and then can park on the island. Enforcement will be via handheld scanners that scan license plates to see if they are registered. There is no physical ticket. The passes can also be purchased via a mobile device.

Sullivan’s Island is considering implementing this system island-wide, unlike Isle of Palms which will have portions of unrestricted parking toward the back of the island.

They have a very different layout from ours,” Clark said. “Our island is narrow enough that we’ll have to do an island-wide parking system.

In response to audience concerns about the lack of public input up to this point on the plan, councilman Patrick O’Neil suggested a small citizens’ advisory group be formed on this matter, because it will impact everyone.

We will absolutely have public meetings about this and we’ll discuss it in the workshops,” Clark said. “All this resolution does is let us go forward, the real meat is coming!”

School Safety

Susan King, principal of Sullivan’s Island Elementary School, addressed council regarding a recent schools safety assessment report. Members of the Safe Routes to School Commission came to the school along with representatives from the South Carolina Department of Transportation and observed the school’s parking lot during dismissal time. The group made several recommendations, the biggest being that a paved sidewalk was necessary on Station 20 1/2. Additionally, a change in the traffic pattern at the junction in front of the fire department was necessary. Council approved a motion to authorize up to $12,000 for the improvements and directed staff to work on the other recommendations made by the commission.

Restrictions Considered for Town-Owned Properties

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The Planning Commission has been addressing numerous complaints about debris and misuse of town-owned lots, specifically Station 19, where there is long-term storage of kayaks and a build-up of trash. Additionally, residents have been complaining of late-night drunkenness, loud partying, fighting and four-wheelers occupying the space.

The commission is considering establishing hours for public access to lots, and installing a chain or swing arm to prevent access after dark. Council directed the Land Use and Natural Resources committee to look into the issue.

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