IOP residents, leaders say parking restrictions should remain short-term only

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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Heavy parking restrictions in place on the Isle of Palm to limit the amount of beach goers on the island. But could some of the new restrictions become permanent? That’s the question some leaders and residents are asking.

No parking on Palm Boulevard and only 50% capacity in the municipal lots. Restrictions are in place for 30 days to reduce crowd sizes on beaches. Some say they hope the restrictions are only temporary measures.

“There has been discussion to eliminate parking on one side of palm boulevard,” says Isle of Palms City Council member Ryan Buckhannon. “Whether that comes to fruition or not I’m not sure.”

Some Isle of Palms residents and leaders are now speaking out against the island’s parking restrictions adopted last week.

“I hope it doesn’t extend beyond COVID-19 and hopefully we can rectify this situation soon,” says Buckhannon.

“We want people to come here and be respectful but I think we as residents need to respect people’s rights to be here and enjoy this beach,” says Isle of Palms resident Ben Marks.

Council member Buckhannon was one of two to vote against the current parking restrictions passed by council.

“Really congests people into one spot which I think is counterproductive,” says Buckhannon. “It does restrict people’s access to the beach, you can’t spread out and you can’t socially distance now.”

A Facebook group called Charleston Area Public Beach Access and Parking Group has nearly 1,500 hundred members with the goal of keeping Lowcountry beaches “as accessible as possible”. Marks says he agrees with the sentiment.

“We should always try and index on leaving beach, making the beach as accessible as possible for as many as possible,” says Marks.

Marks says he hope leaders will reconsider restrictions both short and long term.

“And I would really like for city council to revisit this decision and consider opening things back up,” says Marks.

As of right now, the parking restrictions are set to expire in august but could be extended when city council meets next week.

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