FOLLY BEACH — The chance that drinking on the beach might come back took a further hit Tuesday when City Council passed second reading of the ordinance banning the habit for good.
The vote was identical to the 4-3 count that originally passed the ban two weeks ago, with nobody changing sides.
Meanwhile, the night featured a return of the empassioned voices of residents who either wanted the ban in place, or wanted council to rekindle the idea of a referendum and island-wide turnout.
Resident Ed Patillo said his status was “disenfranchised” because the much-anticipated vote idea was shot down.
“Why not a referendum?” added anthor man. “It’s the voice of the people.”
Opponents of drinking on the beach continued their tack that the ban is a public safety issue, given the number of drunken drivers, assaults and tons of trash that beer drinkers have left behind.
“You are selfish and self-centered and all you care about is your own profits,” said one resident, directing her comments at referendum supporters.
Earlier this month, City Council opted to outlaw alcohol by the surf, rejecting the option of putting the issue to an island-wide vote Nov. 6. The move took many residents by surprise, including some who said they had signed a petition thinking the referendum they wanted would be the result.
Several council members took time to explain their positions, including Councilmen Eddie Ellis, who made a tear-filled address explaining why he changed his word and voted for the ban without a referendum.
“It hurts to go back on my word, but I think I’m doing the right thing for Folly Beach,” he said, pointing to safety, traffic and health improvements that have come about.
The ban effort grew in momentum after a July Fourth beer-fueled party and riot that drew thousands of people to the waterside, overwhelming police. Folly responded with a temporary ban. The ban could become a permanent part of the city code with one more vote, next month.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.
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