Do newly-announced May festivals follow MB law?

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Greg Argos - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - In the last week, the City of Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce have announced three different festivals in May, all aimed at bringing families to the beach, and all requiring special events permits. But in September 2008, City Council members passed more than a dozen laws to keep bike rallies out of city limits, including a ban on granting special event permits during the entire month of May.

That ban is still listed on the city's website, so we asked City Manager Tom Leath how Myrtle Beach can hold these events, when city law says they're not allowed. Leath says the City Council amended the law to allow permits to be distributed only for events council members approve.

"I can tell you City Council is reviewing submittals for festivals during the month of May which are managed events, and they are giving their approval of those," Leath said.

Councilman Randal Wallace, who voted for the amendment which was passed in January, explained, "When we were going down this path, it was to get control of the events in May, and to some extent, we've done that, or at least we've got our hands on a lot of it. So now we're loosening it up slowly and seeing where we go from there."

Though city leaders say every application is reviewed, including ones for bike-related events, some in the community say they doubt the council would approve any special event permit for a motorcycle-related event.

"They want their selected tourism," said resident Travor Tarleton. "They want their people here and for anyone else they feel isn't the proper crowd, they prefer them to stay home."

A city spokesperson says the city's website has not been updated, and that's why the old law is still posted there.

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