North Myrtle Beach's council vote Monday night made it official.
Starting Feb. 24, Horry County residents will be able to buy a North Myrtle Beach parking decal for $200. City residents can start applying for free decals that same day. Paid parking in North Myrtle runs from March 1 through Oct. 31.
To address the concerns of folks living west of the Waterway, the city will sell 200 such decals on a first come, first serve basis. The decals will allow county residents to park for free in city lots connected to Ocean Boulevard, and in certain side streets where the city plans to begin charging to park this summer.
“We certainly cannot afford to give parking passes away to outside the city residents. We certainly can’t afford to pay for free parking for everybody in the county and the city,” said North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley. “So we thought that this would be a fair way we could offer some parking passes for a cost and see how it works.”
The change comes after the city’s inaugural paid parking program last summer, when the North Myrtle first began charging $2 an hour to park in lots connected to Ocean Boulevard.
City residents could get a decal to park for free, but county residents wishing to park for free were restricted to city lots not connected to Ocean Boulevard, and public rights-of-way. This year, some county residents can get those parking decals.
Rich Malzone, an advocate for county residents’ parking privileges, said it’s a step in the right direction.
“I would like to see more than 200 [passes] and less than $200,” he said. “The reality is you can go to the state park for $75. I have to say that it is 5 million times fairer than what the city of Myrtle Beach does, which is basically [say] ‘go to hell.’”
Malzone said he’d like the city to expand the program to something in the ballpark of 500 to 1,000 passes for $100, but added that selling passes was a “gigantic step,” and that “the city of Myrtle Beach needs to take notice.”
Parking management company Lanier does offer some limited parking pass options for non-city residents to park in Myrtle Beach. A 7-day visitor pass is available for $30 and can be used in paid public parking areas, except in decal-only lots.
And for $100, Lanier offers a non-resident placard for use at designated metered parking between 21st Avenue North and 6th Avenue South in Myrtle Beach, and at metered street ends from 69th Avenue North to 77th Avenue North. The placard can’t be used in decal-only lots.
“In-city cars pay city property taxes to the city, and we count that as your payment for parking even if you never use a paid parking space,” said Myrtle Beach spokesperson Mark Kruea. “Non-resident cars do not pay property taxes to the city, so they pay for parking only when they occupy a metered space. Non-residents in the past have wanted the same parking benefits as residents, but they aren’t paying property taxes on their cars.”
Kruea said Myrtle Beach at one point had discussed charging non-residents the average in-city car property tax for a pass, but he said the price was close to $300 and county officials were not supportive.
“Bottom line, everyone pays for parking, either through property taxes on your car or whenever you occupy a parking space,” Kruea said. “The latter is probably the least expensive, but convincing non-residents of that fact has been a challenge.”
The county option is one of a handful of modifications to North Myrtle Beach’s 2020 paid parking season.
“We said from the very beginning that this new parking policy is a work in progress,” Hatley said. “We got it off the ground last year, we adjusted it this year and I’m sure that we’ll look at it again next year.”
This summer, the city will begin charging $2 an hour on some side streets, where parking in rights-of-way used to be free.
“We have noticed more and more people are parking on the side streets and farther back where the free parking is,” the mayor said. “Well, we’re going to do away with some of the side street parking and make it paid parking.”
The city believes that charging the same rate for both the busier side streets and the Ocean Boulevard lots will push visitors toward Ocean Boulevard to fill up those spaces before parking in residential areas. (Scroll to the bottom to see a full list of paid parking side streets.)
The city has also increased the number of decals available to residents and non-resident property owners.
Residents who were limited to two decals can now buy a third for $200, and non-resident property owners who were limited to one golf cart decal – if the golf cart was permitted to their North Myrtle address – can now get one decal for a golf cart or vehicle and can buy another for $200.
The city made an initial $750,000 investment in last year’s inaugural paid parking program. More than 60,300 vehicles paid to park, generating about $500,000 in revenue, and the city expects to fully recoup on its investment in 2020 with the plan to use revenue from paid parking to buy land for more parking lots.
“We had a successful year in our parking program this past year,” Hatley said. “If it’s a successful year again this year, then hopefully we’ll be able to buy more parking. It would probably continue to be paid parking, but it would possibly open up more parking passes for non-residents.”
This season, North Myrtle is charging $2 an hour to park on the side streets listed below, which are located east of Nixon, Perrin, Hillside, Lake, Seaview and Spring. If one of the streets extends west of these boundaries, there are no fees on that side.
1st Avenue North
3rd Avenue North
Hillside Drive from 3rd Avenue North to 11th Avenue North
4th Avenue North
5th Avenue North
6th Avenue North
7th Avenue North
8th Avenue North
9th Avenue North
10th Avenue North
11th Avenue North
12th Avenue North
13th Avenue North
14th Avenue North
15th Avenue North
16th Avenue North
Hillside Drive from 16th Avenue North to 18th Avenue North
17th Avenue North
18th Avenue North
20th Avenue North
21st Ave North
Spring Street from Sea Mountain Highway to Ocean Blvd
23rd Avenue North
25th Avenue North
32nd Avenue North
34th Avenue North
39th Avenue North
46th Avenue North
Along side of - and behind - Lake Drive/50th Avenue North paid parking lot
55th Avenue North
57th Avenue North
58th Avenue North
59th Avenue North
East Nixon Street from 53rd Avenue North to 61st Avenue North
The Point located at the dead end of Ocean Boulevard in Cherry Grove
1st Avenue South
6th Avenue South
Perrin Drive from 7th Avenue South to 8th Avenue South
9th Avenue South
20th Avenue South
28th Avenue South
Seaview Street from 34th Avenue South to 36th Avenue South
Seaview Street from 39th Avenue South to 48th Avenue South
46th Avenue South
48th Avenue South
The city is also adding state laws pertaining to parking into the city ordinance, which will allow parking management workers contracted by the city to enforce those rules.
Parking passes issued in 2019 are still good through the end of 2020, and if your windshield was replaced or vehicle ownership transferred, you'll need to get a new parking decal. They are not transferable.
To get a decal, you'll need your license and registration. Non-resident property owners need proof of residential property ownership, and golf carts must be registered through the SCDMV to the owner’s North Myrtle Beach address.
Parking decals are only available for vehicles that can fit in a standard parking space.