Paid Parking — Nevermind!

After 2 years of planning and $150,000 paid to Stantec to implement a paid parking plan, City Council unanimously canned the whole idea at the Way and Means committee meeting on April 21.  Yep, you read that right.  So it is now official: we wasted $150,000 dollars to get information we already knew and then blew off the consultants recommendations.  (See the post on Stantec.)

Council has essentially decided to go with Parking Plan A (see the post below) but without paid parking.  We could have been at this point several years ago but the “financial conservatives” on Council wanted to spend your money for a consultant to tell them a lot of people come to the beach in the summer and it only going to get worse!  I would have gladly provided this information for 1/10th the price.

Now here is the really interesting part.  Daytrippers will be able to park for free until the designated spots are filled.  If you, however, are having enough guests come to your house that some of them will have park in the easement at your house, YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY TO GET THEM PASSES!

Ya gotta love it.  This is the Alice in Wonderland inversion.  Council cans paid parking for daytrippers but is going to charge residents to have guests visit.  You know, maybe it is time for a change on Council…

Must Reading for Wild Dunes Voters

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The above says it all.  Jimmy’s minions want to reignite the war with those behind the gates.  From what I can tell they don’t like Loftus because he lives in Wild Dunes!  Last time I checked Wild Dunes was the home of our Mayor and accounted for 53% of our accommodation taxes.  Taxes that Jimmy Carroll gushes about on every third post on his website because “the visitors are paying for our lifestyle.”

Bitchin’ & Moanin’ by Jimmy W

Ways and Means - Jimmy FB

This is a few months old, but it is too good to pass up.  What Jimmy fails to note is that NO ONE nominated him for the position of vice-chair of the committee.  Neither of his sidekicks put his name into the hat.  Jimmy Carroll nominated Mike Loftus and Sandy Ferencz nominated Barb Bergwerf!

And what follows next can only be labelled as “the kettle calling the coal black.”

Jimmy complaining on FB


Stantec (symbol STN on the NYSE) is the consulting firm hired by the city to assist with finding solutions to the daytripper parking problem.

Through the end of March 2015 the city has paid them $148,256.

For this princely sum they have held several meetings, counted cars coming onto the island, taken some aerial photos and collected the following observations:

A lot of cars come here in the summer.

A lot more come on weekends.

A lot, lot more come on holidays.

Finally, a lot of homes have obstacles in the easement by the side of the road.

Included in the above spending was $5000 for advice on a digital sign that council decided it did not want.

The above is a perfect illustration of this old joke about consultants:

Hans and Franz where up in their hot air balloon when they got lost.  (This was in the days before cell phones and GPS.)  They saw a man in his front yard so they lowered the balloon to about 10 feet off the ground.

Hans yelled out to the man, where are we?

The man replied, you’re up there.

Hans looked at Franz and told him, that man must be a consultant.

How do you know that?, Franz said.

Because what he just told us it totally accurate and totally useless!

Parking Accomplishments to Date

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Parking sign2

Parking sign3

Yep, that’s it!  After 7 years, an untold number of meetings and paying Stantec $150,000 (more on Stantec in another post) this is where we are.  At least the signs are nice wooden ones and not the cheap metal ones that litter the rest of the island.

These signs were up last summer and they seem to have had a tremendous impact in alleviating the parking problems…!

Parking Plan B


Parking Plan B

Now let’s look at Parking Plan B.  You will see that it has the same Beach Visitor Parking as Plan A.  This would be paid parking for daytrippers.  Once again, there is no parking on Ocean Blvd.

In Plan B, however, the Regulated Resident Only Parking area is much smaller.  Click on the maps to enlarge them and you will see this is the area between the red and yellow squiggly lines.  In other words, this is the area that is more than 500 feet but less than 1000 feet from the beach.

No daytrippers can park here.  Residents and homeowners with a decal or a tag can park in the right of way here and so can guests of residents or homeowners who get a tag from the city.

In the area labeled Unregulated, anyone can park in the right of way at any time.  So if a daytripper does not want to pay to park (or can’t because all the passes for that day are sold) and doesn’t mind walking more than 1000 feet to the beach, he can park anywhere in the yellow area.

Question:  If you drove here all the way from Moncks Corner and there was no paid parking, would you turn around and go home or would you stop to unload your stuff and kids on Palm Blvd and then have one person drive the car deep into the island to park it?

For the record, the following councilmembers voted for this option: Bergwerf, Bettelli, Buckhannon, Cronin, Ferencz, and Ward.

Parking Plan A


Parking Plan A

Please look at the above maps to fully understand this plan.  Clicking on the map will enlarge it for easier viewing.  Then hit the back button to return to this page.

Parking for daytrippers is labeled “Beach Visitor Parking” on the maps.  In city council meeting notes this is also called the “Beach Overlay District.”

The parking spots in the Beach Visitor Parking areas all meet the criteria called for in the beach management plan so the city can maintain eligibility for beach renourisment funding in the future.  The pay to park program would run from the end of May through the end of August between 9 am and 6 pm each day.  (More or less, as this could be adjusted by the city.)

The beach visitor parking would be paid parking and is designated by the red squiggly lines.  The details of paid parking are still to be worked out – and what BIG details they are!  So big, in fact, that the parking plan has been delayed yet another year.

All other parking would be “Regulated Resident Only Parking.”  All residents and homeowners would have a special decal or tag for their vehicle permitting them to park in the right of way.  NO daytripper could park here.

If you live here and plan to have more guests than your driveway can accommodate,  you would need to get some tags from the city to put on your guests cars so they could park in the right of way.

Question: How often do you have so many people at your house that some of them need to park in the right of way?  This is critical to think about as you decide if you like Plan A or Plan B.

For the record, Mike Loftus was the only councilmember to vote for this plan initially.

Council then went into executive session to receive information from the city attorney.  What this usually means is to get information on all the people that will or could sue the city because of a particular move made by council.

After the executive session, Plan A was supported by Carrol, Harrington and Loftus.

Finally, note that there is NO parking on Ocean Blvd, while Palm Blvd will be jammed with cars.

The next post will explain Plan B.

Parking Plan Overview

The Beach Management Plan

For the city to be eligible to receive state funds for beach renourishment, it must provide parking for the general public to access the beach.  Specifically, there must be 6 parking spaces for each 1/8 of a mile of beach and the spaces must be within 500 feet of the beach.

Because Wild Dunes does not provide parking to the general public it is not eligible for beach renourishment funding.

After 7 years, countless meetings and the hiring of an expensive consultant, the city came up with 2 possible solutions to the summer parking problem.  These plans were labeled Parking Plan A and Parking Plan B.

The next 2 posts with give details of each plan.

Let’s Light This Candle! *

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Having figured out how to get someone else to pay for new lights in the business district, Jimmy Ward now wants to pollute Forest Trail with light all night.  Is this really what people who live on Forest Trail want?  Is there a lot of crime going on back there?  I kinda doubt it.  So what is the purpose?

Oh, by the way, don’t forget about paying for all the extra electricity.  Bad for the taxpayer and bad for the environment.  Let’s just deep 6 this idea right now.

* Quote is attributed to Alan Shepard, commander of Mercury Freedom 7 as it was on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, May 6, 1961.

Should We Really Move Public Works 10 Miles off the Island?


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Jimmy Ward would like the IOP to spend over 1 million dollars to move the Dept of Public Works off the island.

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Jimmy says the building is unsightly, smelly and the land will need some environmental mitigation to ensure it is not contaminating Hamlin Creek.

Look at the above connector pictures.  I bet you, like me, have never even noticed the building as you came over the bridge, except at Christmas when there is a light bulb Santa on it.  The fact is the building is not visible until you are almost off the bridge, and then only for a split second.

Here is what Jimmy is not telling you in his Facebook post.  He has said that Long Point Road would be a good location.  Not only would this be terribly inconvenient, it would be terribly expensive.  The city has already conducted a preliminary evaluation of keeping the department where it is and doing environmental remediation.

Sit down before you read this.  Estimated expense to fix up the current site is $284,000.  Estimated expense to move the site to Long Point road is $1,116,000.

The numbers come from a March 4 memo written by Douglas Kerr, Director of Building and Planning.

Finally, not only is this a nutty idea, but, because 1 councilmember thought it a good one, hours and hours of staff time were burned up to satisfy this quixotic idea.

Mr. Ward, you are free to keep the ideas coming, but please quit calling yourself a “fiscal conservative.”