Parking sign plans latest IOP headache

Some Isle of Palms City Council members are calling on the city to slow down plans to implement new beach-parking rules.

ISLE OF PALMS — The prospect of signs sprouting on residential street corners across this island has some City Council members calling for a second look at their new beach parking plan.

As many as 300 streets signs will be put up to identify resident-only parking areas and those places near the beach where visitor parking is allowed.

The plan begins May 15, so the signs will be going up in the near future, said Mayor Dick Cronin.

“From a public safety standpoint, we can’t enforce resident-only parking unless you tell people it’s resident-only parking,” he said.

The state Department of Transportation approved the parking and signage plan.

While about 300 signs will be installed, Cronin said the city will need fewer signposts since some will hold two signs.

Council also approved the plan that showed where the signs would be located, but now some council members are questioning it. The current plan designates streets near the beach where visitors may park. Streets on the island’s interior are for residents only.

The problem with that concept, said Councilwoman Sandy Ferencz, is that people going to the beach typically don’t park in the far-away residential areas, but those neighborhoods will still be dotted with the new signs.

“Yes we want parking management, but not at this cost,” she said. “The people need to let council know that they are not happy.”

Ferencz said the city ordered 444 signs to implement the new parking plan — or four times more than she thought would be needed. She and Councilman Jimmy Ward said the parking plan with its hundreds of signs should be implemented more slowly.

“It’s very controversial, and I’m trying to get the city to take baby steps. I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls from people who are not happy about it,” Ward said.

After beach season ends on Sept. 15, Cronin said the plan and the number of signs can be re-evaluated, and there is the possibility of installing the signs only on a seasonal basis.

“If there are too many signs, we will change the plan by submitting a revised plan to DOT for approval,” he said.

Reach Prentiss Findlay at 843-937-5711.