1st reading of Folly alcohol ban passes

Signs of change are appearing on Folly Beach following a riot on the Fourth of July. (John Gaddy/WCIV)

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- At a special meeting Thursday, Folly Beach's city council passed the first reading on an ordinance aimed at permanently banning alcoholic beverages of the beach.

City council will have a second reading on the ordinance on Wednesday and a third by the end of this month.{} Mayor Tim Goodwin says in order to get the referendum on the ballot by November 6th, the referendum has to be finalized by August 5th.

Currently the referendum reads as:

Council should prohibit the possession and/or consumption of beer and all alcoholic beverages on the beach.

Vote Yes____

Vote No_____

On Thursday, Planet Follywood owner, DJ Rich, urged council to pass a partial ban on alcohol at the beach.

"If you go all or nothing you're going to piss off half the people and make half the people very happy," said Rich.

However, the majority of people in attendance Thursday supported a full ban on beach booze.

"If you have to have a drink in your hand, an alcoholic beverage to enjoy the beach, I feel sorry for you," said Cliff Harvey, a Folly Beach resident.

"I can't tell you how many people said I'm not coming back to Folly, it's too scary," said another Folly Beach homeowner.

Earlier this week, city council passed an emergency ordinance officials hope will help the island maintain a safe environment through Labor Day weekend. That emergency ruling will prohibit the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages for at least 60 days.

The decision on the emergency ruling was immediately followed by signage along the strip at Folly -- warning visitors of the new rules and the fines if caught.{}

The banning of alcohol on Folly Beach follows a series of incidents at the beach, but the deciding factor was perhaps a Fourth of July party that officials say led to several arrests, injured law enforcement officers and tons of trash left behind on the streets and in the sand.

Several Folly residents and council members are fed up as a result of the party law enforcement officers have described as a "riot."

"I love to party. I've never been married. I've never had kids. I've lived on Folly Beach for 20 years. I've had a great time, but I don't even like going out to the beach anymore because it's just a lot of drunk rednecks," councilman Eddie Ellis said earlier this week.