Folly Beach council decides against public vote on alcohol ban

By Nikki

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- On Tuesday, Folly Beach city council voted 4-to-3 to ban alcohol on the beach without putting the issue to a public vote. Ordinance No. 24-12 passed on first reading. It still has two more readings to go before becoming law.

The ordinance takes the ban beyond the beach. An open container of beer or an alcoholic beverage{}would also be{}banned from the streets and other public property. Kegs, small or large,{}would also be banned.

Non-alcoholic beverages are currently{}allowed on the beach if they are in paper or plastic cups. Any cans or bottles must remain in the cooler at all times.

Councilman Tom Scruggs was noticeably outspoken during Tuesday's meeting.

"I've had a substantial number of people who've contacted me either through e-mail or by phone. Substantially, the majority of them are in favor of a ban," said Scruggs. "Since the temporary ban, we can walk, run, cycle, and ride our golf carts without fear of someone under the influence of alcohol running us over."

Joel Flores, a manager at a souvenir story on Folly, spoke against the proposed ban.

"To ban alcohol is an excuse for what happened and would be totally wrong. I think you're insulting the responsible drinker who has been drinking on the beach for years," said Flores.

That comment was in reference to a brawl on the 4th of July that led to several arrests and several officers getting hurt.

City council voted to extend the temporary ban on alcohol beyond September 10th. The temporary ban will remain in effect at least until December 31st.

Council also voted to look into hiring an independent company to investigate the July 4th riot that led to the proposed ban on alcohol.