Folly Beach to increase patrol for first "dry" summer

Published: May. 23, 2013 at 4:33 AM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2013 at 4:48 AM EDT
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FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - A permanent alcohol ban on one of the Lowcountry's busiest beaches has Folly Beach residents and business owners conflicted.

The Folly Beach City Council passed the ban after a series of alcohol related incidents, including a brawl last Independence Day that prompted an emergency ban.

The ban is an effort to make the beach a more family-friendly atmosphere and alleviate traffic congestion.

"There are a lot less visible people that are intoxicated," says Eddie Ellis, Mayor Pro Tem. "I think that the chance for the potential of alcohol-related accidents has definitely decreased."

Meanwhile, others say the ban on alcohol is too harsh and unfair to businesses whose primary revenue is from alcohol sales.

"It wouldn't surprise me if it affects a lot of the businesses down here," says Stephen Zimmerman, a Folly Beach resident. "It just makes sense to have the ban lifted for the revenue alone that it brings to Folly Beach."

But other residents maintain that lifting the ban will just bring back old problems.

"Owners [were] getting really aggravated because people would use their showers underneath their houses," says LaJuan Kennedy, who spearheaded the petition for the ban.

Instead, Kennedy said business owners need to reinvent their business to make up for lost revenue.

According to city officials, a petition to lift the ban is circulating, however, it has not been certified by the Charleston County Board of Elections.