Beach tent ban in Surfside Beach could be pushed to January - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Beach tent ban in Surfside Beach could be pushed to January

Source: WMBF News Source: WMBF News

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A proposed tent ban in Surfside Beach could be pushed back to January.

The Surfside Beach Town Council is set to have a second reading on the proposed ordinance during Tuesday’s meeting, according to the agenda.

According to the amended ordinance, tents would be banned from the beach beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

The proposed ordinance goes on to state that pushing the tent ban from this summer to January would be “to accommodate those who made plans to vacation in Surfside Beach during the 2017 summer season because they could use tents.”

"We felt it fair for those people who have contacted us and said we've already made reservations, because we know we could use tents," said Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Childs. "This gives everybody just about a year before the tent ban goes into effect."

Childs said the tents were becoming a safety concern and it needed to be addressed. 

"It becomes a safety issue. The chief lifeguard had some issues with it, as well as our chief of police, and you know when the very people that we hire to protect our tourists come out and say it's a safety issue, council really has to pay attention," Childs said. 

Businesses like Surfside Realty said they don't have a problem with the tent ban. Instead, it's something else. 

"We don't have an issue with beach tents on the beach or off the beach," said Travis Worthy, director of economic development for Surfside Realty. "It's just all about the timing, us being able to prepare our guests for the change."

According to Worthy, not notifying guests about the changes in a sufficient amount of time would warrant major problems.  

Surfside Realty caters to thousands of guests as the company manages 400-plus properties. Worthy said if Surfside Beach implements the tent ban, they will join. 

"Now the question is do you want to come to Surfside or do you want to come to Myrtle and then I think that's when the specialty of this beach, being a family beach, starts play a role in people making their decision," Worthy said. 

Childs said there were complaints about the tents being left unattended. Another issue presented itself after Hurricane Matthew wiped out a lot of the beach, leaving little room for tents. 

"There's not much beach left," Childs said.

Meanwhile, Worthy said even though the tents were one reason many tourists visited Surfside Beach, he doesn't think it will keep them from coming back.

"Have we increased because we allow beach tents? Yes, yes," Worthy said. "Do I think we'll see a plummet in rentals? No."

The Surfside Beach Town Council meeting is Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Town council members must vote and pass the second reading reading of the ordinance before it will become effective Jan. 1, 2018.

“Baby” tents and umbrellas could still be used. The maximum size of the shading devices could not exceed 31 inches in height by 31.5 inches in width.

Currently, Surfside Beach is the last Grand Strand community to allow tents on the beach.

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