ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Tourists and locals alike are flocking to Lowcountry beaches as the spring season is in full swing.

But with the spike in visitors to the islands, comes a familiar problem, parking.

For the last few years, problems with parking have had island residents and visitors butting heads. The South Carolina Department of Transportation has gotten involved and legislation was passed in 2021 in an attempt to alleviate tension.

A popular Facebook group, Charleston Area Public Beach Access and Parking Group, created in 2020, eventually led to the creation of the Charleston Beach Foundation, a group that fights for fair access and parking at Lowcountry beaches.

The group was integral in the creation of SC Senate Bill S. 40, aka the Beach Parking Bill, which was passed into law in May of 2021. 

Despite this, and the SCDOT’s efforts to create slanted parking spots along Palm Boulevard on the Isle of Palms, problems are arising again.

Some island residents are allegedly placing their own ‘no parking’ signs and encroachments on state-owned right of ways in an attempt to reduce or eliminate visitor parking near their properties.

“People don’t understand that these are DOT right of ways,” said Michael Barnett, an advocate for beach parking. “Obstructing anyone’s ability to park in these right of ways without explicit permission from the DOT is lawlessness. You’re breaking the law.”

Posts are popping up in the Charleston Area Public Beach Access and Parking Facebook group showing some of the signs in question.

Barnett says the disconnect between the municipalities and the DOT is fueling the fire.

“I think they want visitors, but they want visitors to be paying customers. And they are willing to ignore the law and try to sort of weasel out of any obligation they have to the DOT.”

News 2 reached out to both the DOT and the City of Isle of Palms for a statement regarding the ongoing situation as well as the possibility of illegal parking signs and encroachments and we are waiting to hear back.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.