Fri., June 21, 2013 3:00pm (EDT)

St. Simons Island Parking Fee Proposed
By Orlando Montoya and Larissa Allen
Updated: 1 year ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Glynn County Commissioners are considering charging a parking fee at two beaches on St. Simons Island.  Backers say out-of-town visitors who bring their own food and park for free are getting a "free lunch" by not spending money while in the county.  (photo Orlando Montoya)
Glynn County Commissioners are considering charging a parking fee at two beaches on St. Simons Island. Backers say out-of-town visitors who bring their own food and park for free are getting a "free lunch" by not spending money while in the county. (photo Orlando Montoya)
Out-of-towners visting Glynn County beaches soon might have to pay a parking fee.

County commissioners are proposing to charge non-residents for beachside parking.

Glynn County Commissioners are considering charging a parking fee at two of the most popular beaches on St. Simons Island.

The $4 parking fee would help cover the costs of maintaining the lots and hiring lifeguards and police officers.

County residents would not be required to pay.

Glynn County Commissioner Mary Hunt says out-of-town visitors aren't spending enough money in the county.

"When people come here from other counties, they don't necessarily spend money in Glynn County," says Hunt. "They usually have a packed lunch, they usually come to the beach all day and aren't spending any money in Glynn County."

County officials say visitors pay a large chunk of the county's sales taxes.

The proposal could cost the county $380,000 for parking meters and $3 million for parking lot renovations.

Hunt says the concept still needs more discussion.

"If we charge for these two parking lots it's going to make those areas that are also public accesses be inundated with people who don't want to pay to park," says Hunt.

The idea of charging for St. Simons Island parking has come up before but always has been shot down.