Surfside Beach Town Council will vote on tent ban repeal

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) - Some Surfside Beach council members want to repeal the town's ban on beach tents even though the full ban doesn't start until January 2018.

In April, council voted to only allow baby tents and small umbrellas on the beach. The ban immediately went into effect from 8th Avenue South to the southern end of town. However, the full length of the beach would have to be void of tents starting in January.

On Tuesday night, councilmembers David Pellegrino, Julie Samples and Mark Johnson said they would like the ordinance to come back so they can vote to cancel the ban. All three voted "no" to the ordinance in April.

Some council members said tourists from outside of Surfside Beach come to the town with tents because they are banned everywhere else in Horry County.

Councilman Ron Ott said, "People like these tents. Why do we punish our own residents?"

However, Councilman Tim Courtney argued in support of the tent ban noting law enforcement officials have discussed the safety issues they pose.

During public comment, Bill Bigham, of Beach Services Ltd., also spoke in favor of the ban.

"What I'm having a hard time understanding is why there's so much controversy, because this is strictly a safety issue," he added. "The tents create a problem for the lifeguards, fire department, emergencies and the police."

The council will vote on whether or not to repeal the ban at its next meeting on Nov. 14.

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