North Myrtle Beach council passes second reading on beach equipment ordinance

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 10:45 PM EDT
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A handful of lawsuits highlighted the agenda of the North Myrtle Beach City Council meeting Monday.

Five lawsuits were filed against the city.

Those lawsuits include the owner of Skybar, Michael Moshoures who claims the city’s noise ordinance is a violation of free speech, criminalizes protected speech and is “so vague that it promotes discriminatory enforcement.”

Derek Calhoun, the owner of Cherry Grove Beach Gear also filed a lawsuit against the City of North Myrtle Beach over an amended ordinance prohibiting him from placing his beach rental equipment on the beach for customers daily. Calhoun says he has received citations daily.

The pending lawsuits were discussed in an executive session, which is closed to the public.

Monday, city leaders unanimously passed the second reading of the amendment to Chapter 5, Beaches and Waterways, of the Code of Ordinances of North Myrtle Beach, revising Section 5-24, which makes it illegal for any entity other than the municipal beach service to place, set or leave upon any equipment or other items on the beach between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.

“This is basically to clarify that if you could take your chairs out and sit on the beach from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. if you want to but please take them with you when you leave the beach,” said Marilyn Hatley, the mayor of North Myrtle Beach.

Hatley explains the rule is in place so public works can clean and clear trash from the beach before the crowds arrive for the day.

So, anyone who sets up their stuff at 8:01 a.m. can leave it on the beach and come back?

“8:01 am? Yeah, if they bring their stuff at 8:01 a.m. and go back in to get some breakfast, then it’s fine,” said Donald Graham, the spokesperson for North Myrtle Beach.

What’s not okay, according to the ordinance, is businesses setting up beach wares at any time of day.

That’s why Calhoun filed a lawsuit against the city. It’s over an amended ordinance prohibiting him from placing his rental equipment on the beach for customers.

The ordinance bars businesses like Cherry Grove Beach Gear from setting up beach equipment on the public beach regardless of the hours.

The Calhouns received their business license from North Myrtle Beach three years ago.

The lawsuit also outlines the permissions originally obtained by Calhoun allowed his company to bypass 5-14.

Sec. 5-14 states “no person shall sell, lease or rent any goods, wares or other property except that this provision shall not prohibit the holder of a beach franchise or license from exercising the rights and privileges granted therein, nor shall it prohibit the city from granting to the holder of a beach service franchise or license the right and privilege of selling or renting upon the public beaches or waters such items of personal property as are customarily sold or rented by the holders of such franchises or licenses, nor shall it prohibit city council from authorizing activities of a promotional nature on public property with the consent of council for each occurrence. Furthermore, this provision shall not prohibit the City of North Myrtle Beach and its authorized employees from selling and or renting goods and wares such as beach umbrellas and chairs and concession items in conjunction with the city providing lifeguard services.”

Regarding the lawsuits filed against the city, Graham says it is the city’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.

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