Island is cracking down on parking, mayor says

Folly Beach Mayor Carl Beckmann Jr. says the city is beefing up its traffic patrols to catch those who park illegally this summer.

Folly Beach is making a determined effort this summer to enforce its parking regulations, Mayor Carl Beckmann Jr. said.

And parking tickets are costly. Parking on the wrong side of a street can cost you $30, and parking with tires on the pavement can run $50.

Beckmann said the island city has no new parking ordinances, but is using its Public Safety Department officers and part-time workers to enforce existing ordinances, especially on weekends and holidays. Current parking fees were established about a year and a half ago, he said.

Enforcement is necessary for public safety reasons, especially on narrow streets, where parking on both sides of the street leaves no room for firetrucks to pass, Beckmann said.

Several streets are marked as permitting parking only on one side, including West Ashley Avenue from Center Street to Folly Beach County Park, he said. During the summer, the city uses off-duty firefighters and others to ticket illegally parked vehicles.

"We are doing more of an effort, and in the summertime we definitely write more tickets," Beckmann said.

Matt Pendleton of West Ashley, who said he frequents Folly Beach, is angry about a $30 ticket he got recently on the island. He insisted he saw no sign that warned parking was permitted on just one side of the road.

Beckmann said the restricted streets are marked with signs at the beginning and end of each block. Pendleton said the only sign he saw regarding where to park was "on someone's private lot, in their yard, where no one would park anyway."

Pendleton said he's seen the signs the mayor referred to, but only "one sign every four or five blocks."

Beckmann said Pendleton is in error, adding, "Some people's idea of marking is a marker every five feet."

"I am just kind of appalled that tickets are $30, ranging to $100," Pendleton said.

A government contractor, Pendleton said he can't afford to leave work to go back to the beach and to city court to contest the ticket.

Pendleton said he won't risk getting a ticket over the July Fourth weekend. "I am going to a more parking-friendly beach," he said.