CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Open access to the island for all residents or face legal action – that is the message from Charleston County Council to leaders on the Isle of Palms.
Isle of Palms City Council held a meeting on Saturday where they passed an emergency ordinance which continues to restrict access to the island between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and prohibits short term rentals.
In a letter to Isle of Palms Mayor Jimmy Carrol and City Council on Monday, the Chairman of Charleston County Council, Elliott Summey, said the county is urging IOP leaders to rescind those restrictions and allow non-residents the opportunity to enjoy the use of beaches, waterways, restaurants and retail businesses.
The ordinance also keeps county residents from visiting county parks.
In his letter, Summey said the ordinance directly contradicts Governor McMaster’s Executive Order, issued April 20th, which rescinded the prohibition on public beach access for recreational purposes, as well as the May 1st Executive Order which lifted the ban on short term rentals and lifted the statewide ‘home or work’ order.
“The Governor, after careful consideration and advice of medical experts, is taking a very methodical, phased approach to protect the citizens of South Carolina, which moving towards the reopening of businesses.”
Summey goes on to say, “We believe that your conduct in adopting this ordinance is in conflict with the orders and is, in fact, preempted by the orders.”
The county believes the actions taken by city council will have a negative impact on the economy, general welfare, and civil liberties of the residents of the county. “Therefore, the ordinance you adopted on May 2 exceeds your municipal emergency ordinance authority.”
“The Isle of Palms plays a vital role in the geography and economy of the county of Charleston, as well as in the state of South Carolina,” said Summey. “I also understand that the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission is in the process of opening the parks by the end of the week.”
Summey said if the city is unwilling to reverse the decision, Charleston County will be forced to take legal action against the city to lift the restrictions.