Myrtle Beach seeks to tighten regulations on bars, nightclubs - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach seeks to tighten regulations on bars, nightclubs

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) –Pop-up promoters are the target for the City of Myrtle Beach, with council considering ways to limit parties at certain venues. It is an effort to eliminate violent crime within local drinking establishments, but it comes with a cost.

During the Myrtle Beach City Council workshop, council members heard from Chief Gall of the Myrtle Beach Police Department. He explained the city has experienced violent criminal activity involving drinking establishments.

“It seems that’s where we’re having a lot of our issues….a lot of our violence and gang activity after two in the morning,” said the Police Chief.

John Pedersen, the city manager, clarified for council that the ordinance is not for events such as karaoke or trivia, but for promoters “renting out the club.”

The Police Chief explained he feels that when a promoter comes in to take over the venue, the bar owner or managers simply throws up their hands and lets them have free reign.

“There is very little the manager gets involved in during that time,” said Chief Gall. He added, “the atmosphere gets a little wild, a little out of control.”

City Attorney Tom Ellenberg tried to clarify the ordinance by saying it was to target ‘pop-up promoters,’ a type of ‘traveling band’ he said, with promoters traveling from place to place and bar to bar with complete disregard to the area and to the laws.

The proposal requires “drinking establishment owners to notify all third party promoters that they must have a valid City business license and they must have and comply with an individual safety plan approved by MBPD.

In addition, the drinking establishment hosting the third party events would be required to close at two in the morning.

Failure on the promoters part to obtain the proper paperwork would impact the drinking establishment, it would be the bar or club owners responsibility to make sure the promoters had everything in line.

Some local bars support the effort, telling council that “they have stabbings, shootings, fights and it makes all of us look bad. What the city is proposing, I’m on board with 100 percent.”

Other owners do not support it.

One club owner explained to council that he needs the help to bring people to the club. He isnt against having responsibility or making sure promoters have proper paperwork. It is the fact the city wants any event put on by a promoter to shut down by two a.m.

He told council closing at that time would ruin his business, and have a ripple effect on taxi drivers in the area.

This sparked a debate between councilmembers between the difference of using a promoter and using marketing techniques. The wording of the document was unclear, so the conversation will continue at a later date before the ordinance passes the first reading.

The city council noted out of the 250 or so drinking establishments in Myrtle Beach, there are about 14 that engage in promotion business.

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