Surfside Beach zoning laws causing problems for business owners

Surfside Beach zoning laws causing problems for business owners

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Michael Laframboise said he opened his bike shop just last year in Surfside Beach, and had no idea of the zoning laws that prevented him from posting signage and tint on his windows.

Now, he said the last few months have been an uphill battle and he just wants to know when it will end.

"They came in at 1:51 p.m., while I'm busy throughout the day, and says by the end of the day I have to have the tint off my windows or else they're going to fine me again." said Laframboise, who owns Jokers Cycles off of Business Highway 17.

He said the first ticket came back in January. After a summons to appear in court, Laframboise said he started attending business meetings and got in touch with Surfside Beach zoning officials.

He took pictures of other businesses along U.S. 17 that had the same type of signage and tint on their windows.

Sunita Patel, who owns Pavilion Discount Beverage, said she got a notice back in January, but spoke out against it at a town meeting and the ticket was retracted.

Laframboise said he was given a new fine of more than $1,000 earlier this month and had less than 12 hours to take down the windows.

"I feel that I'm being singled out. I mean, why else? There's a two mile stretch of businesses that are all not following the same rules and I'm the only one that's being penalized for it," he said.

At the last town hall meeting, several people spoke in defense of Laframboise and urged that the zoning laws be changed.

Surfside Beach Mayor Doug Samples was one of those who voiced his concerns.

"I'm not being critical of staff, but I am concerned that, perhaps, priorities are misplaced in terms of what the real serious issues are." said Samples.

For now, Laframboise said he will leave the wood in place and hope for a resolution.

"Just be fair. Be fair for each business. I'm not looking to get anything more than what the guy next door or across the street is getting. I just want equal opportunity," he said.

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