HICKS COLUMN: Parking's a beach these days
It's just as well we don't have any beach weather yet — it puts off all the parking hassles we're in for.
Between Mother Nature, the government, developers and environmentalists, we are probably looking at hundreds fewer parking spaces on Folly Beach, and perhaps even Kiawah, this summer.
And that's going to stick in everyone's craw like wet sand.
Folly Beach County Park is expected to be closed for the second year in a row, pending the outcome of a tiff between the Park and Recreation Commission and the Coastal Conservation League.
And that's going to continue to put pressure on Beachwalker County Park on Kiawah. Trouble is, at some point developers are going to start building a road through Beachwalker's parking lot.
The islands are doing everything they can to accommodate folks, but before long the law of supply and demand is going to overwhelm them.
Folly Beach County Park has been missing in action since Hurricane Irene gave it a passing smack in 2011.
That storm tore out the dunes and pretty much washed away the popular park. The PRC wants to put in a groin to shore up the shore, but the Conservation League is worried the groin could damage shorebird habitats.
But as it stands, not doing anything is seriously hurting the marsh on the backside of Folly. Which is some other critters' habitat.
Mayor Tim Goodwin says the park's problems are having a ripple effect, silting in the Folly River and Stono Inlet, which hurts shrimpers and recreational boaters.
Too bad the Army Corps of Engineers doesn't have the money to dredge that river anymore — they used to put all the spoils on the beach near the park, which helped erosion somewhat. So much for that runaway spending everyone complains about.
We may not have a beach, but we're really cutting into that deficit.
Too bad we can't boogie board on that tide of money flowing into the Treasury.
No time to coast
As a result of the Folly park closing, folks who want a beach with bathrooms have been flooding onto Kiawah.
The town is letting people park on the road and at town hall. But after a state Supreme Court ruling last week that a developer can build a road from the park to Captain Sam's spit, there soon could be even less parking there.
Kiawah Mayor Charles Lipuma says that although the island has limitations on parking, “we will make sure the roadway is open.”
“We can't just shut down Kiawah,” Lipuma says. “We will make sure people can get to the beach.”
Folly and Kiawah are doing all they can, but you can bet this problem will soon bleed over onto Isle of Palms and Sullivan's, too.
This is getting ridiculous. We are the coast, but unless something gives, the next time you go to the beach, it won't exactly be a day at the beach.
It'll be two-hour hunt for a parking space.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or read his blog at blog.postandcourier.com/brians-blog.