SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – It appears 2014 will not be a tent-free summer on Grand Strand beaches, despite multiple tent bans already in place. In Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, there is a ban on beach tents and with Horry County looking like it will soon follow with its own ban.
Right now, Surfside Beach does not have a ban in place and town council members don't have any plans to create one this summer. Earlier this year, Surfside Beach Mayor Doug Samples told leaders with the Coastal Alliance that he did not expect the town to enact a tent ban, with this being an election year.
Three town council seats were up for grabs in Tuesday's election. Former councilman Bob Childs will regain his seat on council and David Pellegrino will join town council with a run-off election, most likely for the third seat later this month.
Despite the new changes in town council, there are no signs of new rules when it comes to tent bans on the beach.
Mayor Pro Tempore Mary Beth Mabry told WMBF News, Surfside Beach differs from Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach because there just are not as many people on the town's beaches during the summer. Mabry added that the people who commonly use tents are families with children and grandparents who use the tents for shade.
Surfside Beach Police Rodney Keziah said tents have not been an issue in the past, but he does expect to see an influx in people choosing Surfside Beach this summer just so they can use tents. Keziah said patrols will focus even more on enforcing the current rules.
Currently in Surfside Beach, tents may only be used during the daytime hours and must be ten feet behind lifeguard stands, and in line with the coast.
Mabry said talks of a tent ban may come up again in the future if tents become a problem this summer in Surfside Beach.
Long-time business owner Bill McKownsaid he is glad town council opted to leave tent rules put.
"Anytime the government tries to restrict private sector business, I think it hurts our community and again the big issue with the tents is to protect children with the shade and the elderly people that come," added McKown.
Robert Chaplin brought his family to Surfside Beach for vacation this week, and he was not sure when and where tents were allowed after hearing about other bans.
"We heard it in Augusta, Georgia how the tents would be banned and I feel it's pretty unfortunate the only reason we were interested in getting a tent was keeping our baby from being sunburned."