Faced with ongoing parking issues near two popular lakefront venues, Camden County is looking at solutions to ease the frustration of nearby property owners who are tired of dealing with the congestion.
Several years ago the county instituted a no parking policy on Bittersweet Road near H. Toad's and Shady Gators to put a stop to cars lining the roadway in the residential area. After passing the ordinance the county installed no parking signs. The problem now is the signs are disappearing making it impossible to enforce the ordinance.
Although there is a shuttle bus that serves Shady Gators and a pay for parking lot at H. Toad's, the parking problem persists.
According to the Camden County Sheriff's Department, deputies responded to numerous calls in areas that had been previously designated as no parking zones. That was when they discovered many of the posted signs had been pulled from the ground. Some of the signs were lying in the nearby wooded areas and others were missing completely. Since the area wasn’t properly posted, per county ordinance, no enforcement could be taken. Efforts were made to move cars but as soon as deputies would clear the area, other cars would show up and park in the same areas.
Associate Commissioner Bev Thomas, who represents the Horseshoe Bend area, said deputies cannot write a ticket for "no parking" if the person did not know it was not a "no parking" space.
"When we first did the "no parking" in that area, the deal was that the County would purchase the signs and the Horseshoe Bend Special Road District would install them. The road district now says that it is impossible for them to keep up with the removed signs and we needed to develop a new idea," she said.
The county is looking at several options, including the possibility of revising the ordinance or painting no parking designations on the roadway.