Folly Beach bans alcohol for 60 days

“I’ve been here a long time and I’ve never seen this big a crowd,” said former Folly Beach mayor Lavern James, who was not able to get into the crowded town council chambers where attention focused on residents, like Debbie Glazier, who voiced their opinions about whether to continue to allow drinking on the island -- Tuesday July 10, 2012.

FOLLY BEACH — Folly Beach City Council passed an emergency ordinance tonight to ban alcohol on the sand altogether for 60 days.

The decision, effective immediately, will keep the island dry through Labor Day and takes away the privilege to drink at the only local beach that still allowed it.

Residents and business owners packed the tight City Council chambers, filling every seat and lining the walls. So many people came to speak in favor of the ban that many of them withdrew their requests to address the crowd, saying that their neighbors had voiced their concerns.

They described trash left on their property, fear of driving among drunken visitors and the lost opportunity for tax revenue from people bringing booze onto the island for free. One woman said her family plans to move, adding that they live in a bright blue house and appreciate Folly for its vibrant personality.

“We are not the enemy,” she said.

Resident Andy Norman tossed a plastic bag of empty nitrous oxide chargers from spray cans to the island’s public safety chief – “whip-its” that people huff to get high, which he found on the beach. Norman said he never expected to support an alcohol ban.

“But I never thought I’d see the day when Folly Beach could make Myrtle Beach look classy,” he added.

The emergency ordinance stemmed from a July Fourth gathering that law enforcement officers later described as a “riot.” The event left in its wake of more than 100 bags of garbage, a handful of injured public safety officers and a stack of arrest reports.

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