Discussion continues on tent ban along Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Tourists crowd the beach in the summer months with towels, umbrellas and chairs, but the item bringing the most buzz to the beach is the overcrowding of tents.

Grand Strand Mayors Coastal Alliance met today to continue consideration on a tent ban on area beaches. While each council has it's own final say, the goal is to make a mutual decision across the board.

"That is the smartest thing to do. You're able to make everything uniform, there's no ands, ifs or buts. Hopefully with the tents multiplying, becoming more common like they are, that this will bring us together," says Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes.

Tents are an issue for some areas more than others. They don't pose a problem for Surfside beach; however, the Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach mayors expressed that tents impact beach-goer safety.

"Safety issues are the main thing," says Rhodes. "That's being able to have emergency vehicles to get down to the beach when an emergency occurs, whether it's a drowning or a heart attack, but tents have now become an issue."

Last week, North Myrtle Beach City Council preliminarily voted against the ban of tents in three areas of the beach. They said banning tents in certain areas would only shift issues to other locations across the Grand Strand.

Today, Grand Strand leaders discussed a comparison to other popular beach destinations, like New Jersey, that does not allow tents on certain beaches. Beach erosion is another issue, which leaves minimal space for people and even less space for tents.

City leaders are hoping for a decision in the near future to make time to spread the word to hotels and install the proper signage, just in time for visitors.

Mayor Rhodes says the optimal plan is to have the decision made for the summer months. The topic will come up again the end of January and the Coastal Alliance will reconvene in the beginning of February.

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