Folly Beach alcohol ban: 3rd reading postponed

Council passed the second reading on July 18 (Valencia Wicker/WCIV)

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV)---{}The third reading to put a Folly Beach alcohol ban on the November 6th ballot was postponed Tuesday night.

The measure moved quickly through its first two readings after a July 4th beach brawl left several police officers injured.

Council passed the second reading by a vote of 5 to 2.

The postponement of the reading came as residents in favor of the ban presented a petition requesting a binding referendum on the ballot. The current proposal is a non-binding referendum. The petition had 495 signatures.

According to Folly Beach mayor Tim Goodwin, the city is not in favor of having two questions on the same topic on the November ballot.{}

So what's the difference between a binding and non-binding referendum?

A binding referendum would take the matter to public vote and pass with a majority vote in favor of a ban. A non-binding referendum would still give council a chance to override a public decision.

Also, officials say, there could be some discussion on enacting specific dates and times in which alcohol would be illegal, according to city attorney Ben Peeples.{}He adds the ruling would have to be inclusive of all residents and general public on Folly Beach.

Earlier this month, city council passed an emergency ordinance officials hope will help the island maintain a safe environment through Labor Day weekend. That emergency ruling prohibits 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."

The{}alcohol ban ordinance would have to pass a third vote for it to be put on the November ballot. That third reading will now be on August 14th.