Folly sued over parking contract

The battle over who will operate a popular parking lot at Folly Beach could be headed to court.

A lawsuit served Wednesday by Palmetto Parking LLC seeks to void Folly Beach City Council’s April 10 decision awarding a contract to run the 3rd Street West parking lot to Wolffies on the Beach LLC.

The parking lot, also known as 3W, holds about 35 to 40 vehicles and is considered by Palmetto Parking to be the top money-earner among the city’s public parking areas.

Palmetto maintains that it has had a contract since 2007 to manage public parking areas on Folly Beach, including 3W. Palmetto contends that the terms of its contract can be changed by the city only after written notification to Palmetto. No such notice was provided, attorney Ed Pritchard, who represents Palmetto, argued.

The suit names as defendants Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin, members of City Council and other city officials. Both Goodwin and City Administrator Toni W. Connor-Rooks declined comment Thursday.

State Rep. Chip Limehouse, a part owner of Palmetto Parking, referred comment to the company’s attorney. Wolffies on the Beach was not named in the suit.

Pritchard said Palmetto is asking the court to order the city to comply with the terms of the 2007 contract, and to order the city to readvertise the bid for the contract for managing 3W. The suit also asks the court for an injunction, preventing the city from handing over management of 3W to Wolffies while the issue is litigated.

Palmetto protested after Wolffies was awarded the contract, and on April 24 council conducted a hearing. Representatives of both LLCs made presentations and proceedings were documented by a court reporter.

Afterward, council voted unanimously to stick with the contract it had awarded to Wolffies. City officials stated they desired modifications to management of 3W, including a requirement that the firm operating it maintain the restrooms. The city currently maintains the restrooms, officials said.