New Myrtle Beach Parking Rules Not in Violation of Corps Agreement

Published July 19, 2016
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, has reviewed the recent changes to the City of Myrtle Beach’s parking rules and determined that they do not violate the project cooperative agreement in place for beach nourishment.

Upon review, the Charleston District has determined that everyone, both City of Myrtle Beach residents and non-residents, are being charged for parking and, therefore, there is no violation of the agreement. The specifics of how those charges are incurred, whether through taxes to residents or fees to non-residents, are a decision up to the City of Myrtle Beach and all questions about those charges should be directed to them.

The non-federal sponsor (the City of Myrtle Beach) is allowed to charge reasonable beach recreation use fees to offset its share of the project costs. Normal charges made by a municipality for use of facilities, such as parking areas, are not considered a charge for the use of the federal beach project, as long as they are commensurate with the value of the service they provide and return only a reasonable profit. Fees for such services must be applied uniformly to all parties concerned and not as a prerequisite to beach use. As all parties, both residents and non-residents, are being charged for parking, and the charge is not a prerequisite for beach use, such charges do not violate the agreement.

Additionally, restricting access to parking in some areas is not prohibited by the project cooperative agreement as long as reasonable parking is available to the general public. The agreement does not restrict the City of Myrtle Beach from declaring certain areas for “residents only” as long as beach parking is available to the general public elsewhere. In order to ensure this, the City of Myrtle Beach can, and does, provide public transportation facilities and shuttle buses as a substitute or complement to parking facilities. Further, the City of Myrtle Beach provides more than 40 public beach access points, which provide adequate access for the general public to the beach.

As of March 29, 2016, more than $24 million in federal funding has been spent on initial construction, periodic nourishment and hurricane emergency rehabilitation on this stretch of Myrtle Beach under the beach nourishment agreement with the City. Myrtle Beach is one of several beaches throughout the state that receives periodic beach nourishment through agreements with the Charleston District.

Sean McBride

Release no. 16-0702