Isle of Palms leaders issue resolution opposing recently passed beach parking bill

Charleston County News

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Isle of Palms City Council passed a resolution 7-0 opposing the beach parking bill that was recently passed in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Bill S.40 requires a municipality to get prior approval from the South Carolina Department of Transportation before establishing, altering or restricting the use of parking facilities on a state highway facility.

It also states parking on state highway facilities located in beach communities may only be restricted if SCDOT determines that the restrictions are necessary and issues an encroachment permit.

But IOP leaders say the bill violates The Home Rule Act which they say gives municipalities the sole power to control roads and streets within the municipality for the public health.

Councilmembers are calling on Governor Henry McMaster to veto the bill.

Isle of Palms City Councilman John Moye released a statement Friday morning saying, “home rule has always been a fundamental part of why South Carolina is so wonderful. When home rule is threatened at this scale, issues at local leaders and communities know how to best address are suddenly being managed by politicians in Columbia.”

Moye went on to say the beach parking bill was “conceived as a response to temporary measures taken during an entirely unprecedented pandemic. But while the measures taken during the COVID pandemic were temporary (and once-in-a-lifetime), the adverse impact of the S40 precedent would be felt for decades.”

Councilman Randy Bell, who serves as chairman of the public safety committee, said that power was granted to local municipalities was “not unique to Governor McMaster’s emergency directives during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is a basic tenant that local governments are best able to handle local issues of  public health and safety.”

He said barrier islands are no different than any other South Carolina municipality and should not be treated differently. 

“No state official should use issues of public safety as a tool to pander to a vocal minority for purposes of political gain,” said Bell.

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