Folly Beach makes booze ban permanent
No more beer by the ocean on Folly Beach.
Council made a temporary ban permanent Tuesday night.
The vote was 4-3, with Mayor Tim Goodwin casting the tie-breaker.
Folly had been the only local beach where drinking by the ocean was allowed. Safety officials said drinking was causing too many problems. Some residents and business owners questioned how the ban would affect tourism and commerce.
Jacob Kendrick urged council to do more study on that question.
“I feel that making this decision at all at this point is extremely premature,” he said.
Resident Ed Patillo said he was dismayed that council didn’t allow citizens to vote on the issue in a referendum.
“This is personal to me,” Patillo said. “You’ve ruined my life.”
Susan Breslin pointed out that a petition calling for a ban on beach drinking had collected 357 valid signatures, which she said represented 60 percent of the vote.
Tom Read pointed out that most cities don’t allow drinking in public places.
“The front beach … is just as public as any of the streets,” he said.
Drinking on the beach has been illegal since shortly after a July 4 melee that safety officials called a riot and blamed on too much beer.
After the July 4 incident council outlawed alcohol on the beach through Labor Day, extended the ban through the end of the year and made it permanent Tuesday.
Some residents said officials should focus on enforcing existing laws against public drunkenness rather than outlawing drinking altogether.
Resident Darlene Rawls said life has been more peaceful since council put a stop to drinking on the beach.
“All I know is that in the past few weeks I have a life again,” she said. “Let us enjoy the beach in peace.”
Goodwin and council members Tom Scruggs, Eddie Ellis and Pennell Clamp voted for the ban Tuesday, while Dale Stuckey, Paul Hume and Sandra Hickman voted against it.
Stuckey said she’s against drinking on the beach but voted against the ban because she wanted to put the issue up for a referendum.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or twitter.com/dmunday.