IOP signs back today

Isle of Palms Police Chief T. E. Buckhannon said it’s not unusual for the city’s no-parking signs to be stolen.

ISLE OF PALMS — Spring break beachgoers could park Thursday on the west side of 8th Avenue between Carolina Avenue and Ocean Boulevard, but the missing no-parking signs are expected to be replaced today.

Parking on the stretch of road shoulder has been allowed temporarily since Wednesday because of the missing signs.

“It’s hard to say when they were taken,” said Police Chief T.E. Buckhannon. A sign costs- $35 and a pole $12, he said.

“It happens all the time. Somebody takes down the signs, the poles. Some years are worse than others,” Buckhannon said.

Some years, as many as 15 to 20 signs go missing, he said.

The search for a fugitive who was thought to be holed-up in a nearby hotel delayed the planned replacement Thursday of the missing signs, Buckhannon said.

The missing 8th Avenue signs came to the attention of the city Tuesday when officials noticed that no-parking signs on the west shoulder of 8th Avenue were attached with “zip-ties” rather than bolts and they were posted on non-metal poles. The city took down the unofficial no-parking signs Tuesday night. It was unclear who put them there. Homeowners are not allowed to post no-parking signs on state right-of-way, even if parking is prohibited, officials said.

The state Department of Transportation and the city decide which roadsides to close to parking, based on safety considerations. The state DOT on Thursday put four new “no-parking here to corner” signs on 8th Avenue about 20 feet from the corners where it intersects Ocean Boulevard and Carolina Avenue.

Sally Watkins of Mount Pleasant and her friends from Asheville, N.C., parked near one of the 8th Avenue DOT signs in the legal zone on the east shoulder.

“It’s just more places where you can’t park,” Watkins said.

About 60 yards of the east shoulder of the avenue was landscaped by a homeowner in a way that affected public parking. The homeowner said it was done for safety reasons. Surfers said it deprived them of a long-time favorite parking place. The state and the homeowner are working out a compromise.

The situation is part of the city’s efforts to address its ongoing parking issues. Residents have complained about unruly beachgoers, which has prompted City Council to consider new restrictions on parking. So far, nothing has been decided. Among the options under consideration is a $65 seasonal pass for those who wish to park on streets outside the commercial area from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March through September.