Closed public lots keeping locals from parking at beach, frustrations grow


CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Frustrations in Carolina Beach are mounting over parking restrictions. Public lots are closed to discourage visitors from packing the beach, but it’s also impacting some of the locals who don’t live on the strand.

A lot of locals get the logic and the safety concerns, but they also know that with so little on-street parking, a lot of people who live on the island are just out of luck.

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“You can’t allow people to go to the beach and not give them a place to park their vehicle,” Larry Spurlock, who lives just over the bridge, said.

Now that the beach is open, people are facing another problem – actually getting to the beach.

“Something’s got to be done,” Spurlock said. “They’re going to have to open up the parking spots and allow people to park. You can’t go to the beach if you don’t have a place to park.”

Unless you live right on the beach, you’re going to have a tough time finding parking. On-street metered spots are open, but there are only so many to go around.

“I feel for the people who aren’t local because they can’t get down here, and I feel for the shops up here to because it’s really hurting the local businesses around here,” resident Shawn Grubbs said.

Grubbs is thankful he and his wife live within walking distance of the beach strand, but he understands the frustration. They’re facing yet a different problem as drivers try to get creative.

“They are parking in peoples’ yards and everything because there’s just no parking available, and people are wanting to enjoy it,” Grubbs said. “Even the people who are out here in Paradise Island who are away from the beach, who need to drive to get to the beach.”

Despite the inconvenience, Grubbs doesn’t blame those drivers.

For Spurlock, he can’t walk from his house. So he tried dropping his wife and dogs at Freeman Park one day.

“So I stopped at one of the bagged meters just to get them on the beach, and by the time I had turned around after I had walked them just to the rocks right there,” Spurlock said.

Spurlock says he was almost given a ticket, and feels like he just can’t win.

There are mixed emotions from residents, but many nonetheless, are feeling the frustration.

“It’s an overreach,” Spurlock said. “It’s not fair. And we, the people, don’t want it.”