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Coastal Alliance suggests banning tents

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Updated Monday, March 3, 2014 5:37 am

Tents along the Garden City Beach shoreline may be memories this season if Horry County follows the recommendation of the Coastal Alliance.

The alliance, which includes the elected leaders of the oceanfront communities from North Myrtle Beach south to the Georgetown County line, unanimously approved a recommendation that tents on the shore be banned from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

While the alliance has no enforcement power, it is expected that its member communities will take up the suggestion sooner rather than later.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said he expected that the county would hold a workshop on the issue before taking a vote, but he acknowledged there were safety issues, especially in areas such as Garden City Beach, which has little beach and what it has is blocked by tents.

“I think we’ll take a proactive stance on this,” Lazarus said. Horry County held a workshop on the issue Tuesday.

The alliance members looked to the North Myrtle Beach council, which voted 6-1 Feb. 17 to ban the tents. A second vote is needed to approve the ban. “We have erosion problems and by the time you have all those tents up, we can’t get rescue vehicles in,” said Mayor Marilyn Hatley.

She said that the community had looked at banning tents in certain districts, but realized that people would just move the tents outside the district, which wouldn’t solve all of the problems.

Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, the alliance chairman, said he expected that the city would pass an ordinance banning the tents. “One way or the other, we’re going to have a ban in some fashion,” he said.

Tents in Garden City Beach have drawn concern from the group that patrols for turtle nests, which said that the structures often are left up all night and block the newly hatched turtles’ march to the sea.

Under current rules, the tents, which are classified as structures, must be placed in certain areas – behind the lifeguard chairs – and must come down each evening.

“Our safety people say it takes them about half an hour each day to deal just with the tents,” Lazarus said.

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