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Isle of Palms Councilmember and former Isle of Palms Mayor to fight senate bill S.40 signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster last year

ISLE OF PALMS, South Carolina – More than a year after a state bill was passed that would give the state control of public roads in beach towns and ensure access to some free parking, a former mayor and a current councilman from the Isle of Palms have stated that the bill constitutes a “unprecedented attack upon the South Carolina State Constitution and rule of law.”

An open letter was written to elected leaders in the barrier island towns of the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach, and Edisto Beach by Blair Hahn, a councilmember for the Isle of Palms, and Jimmy Carroll, who served as mayor of the Isle of Palms from 2003 to 2007.

In the letter, Hahn and Carroll make a request for assistance in their fight against senate bill S.40, which was passed into law in May 2021 after being signed by the Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster.

Carroll was quoted as saying, “We want the right to run our town.” “We do not want Columbia to tell us how to govern our island,” said one of the island’s residents.

Parking at public beaches is required to be free under this measure, although parking along state highways may be subject to fees instead. These routes must be located in municipalities that are qualified to receive beach renourishment subsidies, which are used to replenish the sand on beaches with financial resources.

When the South Carolina Department of Transportation determines that parking restrictions are required, they have the authority to implement those restrictions.

“There is a fee for parking,” Hahn explained. “The expenditures associated with parking include emergency services, police services, fire services, landscaping costs, and trash collection charges. It requires financial investment, and the costs must be borne by somebody.

In addition to this, it mandates that local governments must obtain permission from the South Carolina Department of Transportation before making any additions to or alterations to state highways.

According to Hahn, “it is obviously illegal, it is unconstitutional on four separate counts, and it ought to be stopped.”

According to Hahn, the Isle of Palms City Council has sought the advice of legal counsel in order to investigate their legal options. Hahn has stated that they will petition the South Carolina Supreme Court in the event that they are unable to negotiate a lawful statute by either changing or repealing S.40.

Sen. Larry Grooms was the primary sponsor of the legislation (R- Berkeley). There was a problem getting in touch with Grooms for an interview at this time.

A request for comment was made to the South Carolina Department of Transportation; however, they have not yet provided a response.

The Mayor of Isle of Palms, Phillip Pounds, stated that the city would continue to work with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) to identify solutions that would be beneficial to the city’s citizens and visitors.

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