SULLIVAN'S ISLAND — Noise and activity from the commercial district has long been an issue in this barrier island community, where eating and drinking establishments sit just steps away from residential neighborhoods.
Tonight, Town Council will discuss possible solutions, including getting on Facebook to tell people to be quiet.
Resident Michael Barnett suggested starting a Sullivan's Island nightlife community on the social networking site because that's how most of the people causing the problem communicate. With it he plans to tell patrons of places such as Poe's Tavern, Dunleavy's Pub and Seel's on Sullivan's things like where to park, and more importantly where not to.
On a busy weekend, closing time sends as many as 200 people over the Ben Sawyer Bridge to Mount Pleasant and over Breach Inlet to Isle of Palms. Patrons of the Middle Street establishments often park in residential neighborhoods, meaning their paths home start with a boisterous walk through quiet streets.
Barnett first suggested the Facebook group during a noise advisory committee meeting as an alternative to the proposed solution of closing bars at 11 p.m.
"Respect the way people live here. Otherwise, something you love might disappear," he said.
Barnett said 80 percent of the people causing the problem don't live on the island, and his Sullivan's Island Facebook page, currently under construction, might be one way to reach them.
An advisory committee of council members, business owners and residents came up with four of its own recommendations, including changes to parking recommended by the town's commercial district consultant, increased police presence in the area, further examination of the town's noise ordinance and implementation of cabaret licenses under which business owners would be charged based on their percentage of alcohol sales. Councilman Mike Perkis said during a recent council committee meeting that he found the official recommendations underwhelming.
"There's no specificity to it," he said.
But Councilman Everett Presson, a committee member, said he didn't expect much from the committee that brought business owners and residents to the same table because noise related to the restaurants has been an ongoing problem.
Presson said he was interested in a better police presence first and foremost and wanted to let people know that Sullivan's Island is not the place where people can come and "be loud and rowdy."