Only On 2: Governor, State Transportation Secretary weigh-in on beach parking battle

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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – State leaders and elected officials on Monday gathered for a beach advocates meeting, with the goal of bringing an end to the battle for beach access.

After months of back and forth, Governor Henry McMaster and Transportation Secretary Christy Hall heard both sides of the debate, and are working on a solution.

The goal, Governor McMaster says, is to find middle ground on the issue.

“If we communicate, cooperate, and collaborate it works every time,” Gov. McMaster said.

Secretary Hall agreed, saying the issue – which originated here in the Lowcountry – has far-reaching implications.

“I have an obligation at the state level to ensure that statewide interests are upheld,” said Hall.

Island residents and beach visitors have long disagreed about the amount and cost of access to beaches, with visitors opting for a more relaxed approach.

“I do believe there is the right balance [between] resident and non-resident parking, free parking and paid parking,” said Hall.

Leaders remain hopeful a resolution could be on the horizon before the busy beach season starts in just months, but they say that outcome depends on everyone having a seat at the table.

“We’re willing, as a council, to work with the state at an appropriate level,” said Isle of Palms City Councilman, Randy Bell.

“Hopefully at the end of the day, we can come through this with some resolution. While we may not all be happy about everything at the end of the day, at least we can agree that it’s a good step forward,” said Hall.

Congresswoman Nancy Mace was also in attendance for day one of the beach advocates meeting. Mace said she stands with Governor McMaster and Secretary Hall in trying to find a compromise.

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