SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Hundreds of Sullivan’s Island residents are pushing back on a potential plan for paid parking through a petition to town leaders.
Those behind the petition fear the impacts paid parking would have on area businesses.
The petition filed with the town, which is nearly two dozen pages long, is filled with 286 signatures from island residents hoping to keep parking on Sullivan’s Island free for those looking to spend a day at the beach or grab a bite to eat at one of the island’s businesses.
It also calls on town council to either draft an ordinance to keep all parking for vehicles on public roadways and right of ways free or add the petition to the election ballot for town residents to decide on the upcoming May 4th election.
The business behind the petition is Dunleavy’s Pub, a nearly three-decade staple along busy Middle Street, working to fight for customers both on and off the island.
“We’ve got telephone calls saying ‘thank you so much for taking this battle up for us,'” said Dunleavy’s Pub General Manager Jamie Maher. “A lot of off-islanders are pleased because they don’t have a say obviously.”
Island neighbors and Lowcountry residents are getting behind the charge to keep the already-limited amount of Sullivan’s Island parking free.
“It was a good endeavor, people seemed thrilled to sign it,” said Maher. “We had many people come by and sign it here, we walked the island. People signed it on the island.”
Small island businesses have already been hit hard by COVID-19 over the past year. They say they’re out of Band-Aids to stop the bleeding.
“It would be a huge hit to our business as far as if paid parking went into effect,” Maher said. “We don’t have any parking lots a lot of the businesses. It’s not only my business but a lot of the businesses out here; we don’t have parking lots for our customers.”
A paid parking plan on Sullivan’s Island leaves businesses like Dunleavy’s Pub and its General Manager wondering what could be on the horizon if the plan is approved.
“Are people going to want to come over here to watch the game if they have to pay for a couple hours to sit on top of what they are already paying,” Maher asked. “I think it would be a tremendous impact on the businesses out here.”
For Maher, he says only time will tell. In the meantime, he’s hopeful the collective voice of hundreds of people will be heard by those making the decisions.
“I hope they really look into it and take some time and think about this before they decide to go forward- if they decide to go forward. Hopefully, they do not,” Maher said.
At an election commission meeting Friday, Sullivan’s Island officials voted to send the petition to the Charleston County Election Headquarters to verify the more than 22 pages of signatures before taking action.