Folly residents looking to ban alcohol on the beach

The photo above shows the crowd law enforcement officers on Folly were attempting to control. (Provided)

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- Many residents of Folly Beach are fed up. They're so fed up that they are working to ban the consumption of alcohol on the beach.

On the July 4th holiday the beach saw large crowds and beach parties -- crowds that left behind trash and even started a riot in which law enforcement officers were injured.

As of Thursday evening, officials say eight people had been charged in the riot.

As a result, a proposed ordinance was drafted on Friday. With the safety of law enforcement officers and beach patrons in mind, it would prohibit alcohol on the beach, streets or other public property.

It would also prohibit kegs, small or large, on the beach.

Kevin Wright, who lives in the Park Circle area, says Folly Beach has always been the spot for him and his friends. He said he likes that it's relatively liberal. He strongly believes an alcohol ban would take away from the whole Folly experience.

"I think it's a bad idea, because it's a large part of why people come here," he said.

Kai Dilling runs a kids' surfing camp, and says the 4th of July fight shouldn't have spawned the debate about alcohol consumption at the beach.

"I think it's a shame that it happened, and people should be responsible of their actions," he said. "I think it's great that Folly allows folks to drink at the beach, and they have certain guidelines that are easy to follow."

Business owner DJ Rich of Planet Follywood said he feels an alcohol ban wouldn't affect his establishment, but the entire business community as a whole is torn on the idea.

"Some owners think it will hurt because they won't have as many visitors come out, and some think it will help because they will have a better quality visitor. When we advertise, we strive for heads and beds. We want people to stay here for a week and come back. The day trippers that come out don't spend a lot of money at our business, so I don't think it will hurt us either way."

To become law, the proposed ordinance would have to be approved by town council and then by a public vote currently scheduled for November 6, 2012.

How do you feel about this response to Wednesday's riot? Do you think banning alcohol on Folly Beach will solve the problem or prevent future similar incidents? Leave your comment below

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