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Folly Beach residents to vote on beach alcohol ban

FOLLY BEACH (AP) — Voters in Folly Beach will decide in November whether they want to make permanent a ban on alcohol on the beach.

Folly Beach City Council voted Thursday night to have voters consider whether to continue the ban.

Council voted earlier this week for a 60-day ban on alcohol on the beach after a brawl on the Fourth of July. Five officers suffered injuries and seven people were arrested.

The emergency ban put into effect this week carries a fine of up to $1,100 for violators.

The Nov. 6 vote would not be binding unless 15 percent of the city’s voters sign a petition.

“This is my town, and I’ve got certain things that are mine,” Councilman Eddie Ellis said. “And mine is my enjoyment on the beach. There are too many drunks.”

Some residents at Thursday’s meeting complained they feel captive in their homes when crowds descend on the beach.

Brian Porter has lived on Folly for 69 years and said his wife yelled at some of the rowdy beach-goers near their home.

“You know what they did? They waved at her,” Porter said. “The quality of life on this island is the worst it’s ever been.”

Not everyone agrees with the approach.

Planet Follywood owner D.J. Rich suggested a seasonal ban on alcohol similar to Folly’s rules on bringing dogs on the beach

The push for the ban reached follows the Fourth of July when thousands of people crammed into a small area and some of them began fighting. After the disturbance was calmed, authorities said the crowd left more than 100 bags of garbage.

Enforcing the ban could be a challenge for the city’s 16 full-time public safety officers and their assistance from Charleston County sheriff’s deputies.

Folly Beach officials plan to put up more than 60 signs advising beach-goers of the changes.

City council meets again Wednesday for a second vote on the referendum.

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