NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — North Myrtle Beach has responded to a federal lawsuit filed last week by a beach equipment company that says an ordinance the city amended in June blocks it from doing business on the beach.

The lawsuit, filed by the owners of Cherry Grove Beach Gear, accuses the city of enacting the ordinance to “restrict competitive business practices” so the city could have a monopoly on beach equipment rentals and seeks an injunction to keep the city from enforcing it.

In a court filing on Friday, the city said “the prohibition on delivery and set up of beach equipment is a proper exercise of the City’s broad Home Rule powers to adopt measures for advancing the safety and enjoyment of the millions of people who annually visit the City’s beaches.

“It has existed since long before Plaintiffs started doing business in 2019. Other beach equipment companies comply with the law by delivering items to where their customers are staying. But Plaintiffs don’t like the law, so they refuse to comply with it. And they have turned their ongoing violations of the law into a marketing tactic, gleefully announcing each citation on social media under the hashtag #outlawbeachlife and asking
people to chip in for the fines they are deliberately incurring.”

The city also says granting the company’s request for an injunction would hinder its ability to “protect and preserve its beaches and the many people who visit them.”

The company also argued in Friday’s filing that the lawsuit fails to meet the basic requirements needed for an injunction.

In its response, the city also noted that Myrtle Beach and Horry County are among other government entities in South Carolina that limit “commercial activity” on beaches.

The lawsuit claims the city makes between $1.5 million to $3 million in revenue annually from beach rentals.