Surfside Beach moves to regulate laser pointers

akelley@thesunnews.comJanuary 22, 2013 

— Town Council on Tuesday gave first approval to an ordinance regulating laser pointers in Surfside Beach.

The decision follows a summer of trouble involving green laser pointers that pushed the U.S. Coast Guard to consider the Grand Strand a dangerous area to fly.

The ordinance in Surfside Beach is identical to one that Horry County Council passed earlier this month.

On Tuesday Myrtle Beach city officials also adopted the ordinance. City spokesman Mark Kruea said the city’s ordinance is the same as the county’s so the law is standardized along the beach.

Surfside Beach’s ordinance requires a second vote which likely will occur the Feb. 5 meeting.

The ordinance prohibits the sale of laser pointers to anyone under the age of 18, and the strength of the devices can’t exceed 1 milliwatt. Lasers would be allowed to be available for purchase for professional purposes, such as educators, contractors or public safety officials.

Store owners selling lasers must maintain technical specifications showing the device has a strength not exceeding 1 milliwatt. Additionally, they must get customers buying a laser pointer to sign a paper that lists associated warnings with the device.

Those warnings include not buying the device for minors, and noting that it can be considered a weapon if pointed at people or aircraft.

Anyone in violation of the ordinance can face up to 30 days in jail or a $500 fine.

Trash costs rise

Town Council also approved an increase to sanitation charges.

The increase raises standard collection and 6-yard commercial container services fees by 25 percent, while 8-yard commercial container services jump 35 percent. For the average homeowner, that means about $3.75 per month.Winter roll out curb service – where public works employees move trash cans to and from the curb for collection – doubles to $12 per month per cart.

Pier Upgrades

Also Tuesday, F.E. Baiden & Associates LLC was selected to construct a new ramp and other upgrades to the Surfside Beach Pier to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

F.E. Baiden & Associates was the lowest of four bids received by the town, and will complete the upgrades for an estimated $107,953.

The town is required to make the changes by May as a result of a settlement with the S.C. Department of Justice.

At press time, it wasn’t clear when construction would begin.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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