Myrtle Beach council delays vote on ordinance regulating the city’s late-night bars

mprabhu@thesunnews.comJuly 2, 2013 

— Myrtle Beach City Council members requested more time to hear more details on a proposed ordinance that would impose restrictions on city bars and nightclubs that are allowed to serve beer and wine after 2 a.m., when other establishments that serve alcohol must close.

As proposed, if two negative incidents occur at an establishment in a six-month period – that police determine are related to management practices or inadequate security practices – the business would be required to put a written safety plan into action for one year. If a third negative incident occurs within that year, that establishment’s exemption is revoked and it would have to stop serving all alcoholic beverages at 2 a.m., according to city attorney Tom Ellenburg.

Councilman Mike Lowder questioned the ability of the city to determine if something negative that happened is due to poor management.

The ordinance describes negative behavior as “attempted or accomplished robberies of patrons, disorderly conduct incidences, breaches of the peace, drug offenses, public nuisances or violations related to unlawful service of alcohol.”

Ellenburg said that after speaking with city police, instances of negative incidents that are related to poor management could include ignoring issues in an unsafe parking lot or customers having things stolen off the bar, which Lowder took issue with.

“If somebody leaves a cell phone laying on the bar and goes to the bathroom?” he said. “You can’t fix stupid.”

The council will speak with police to get a clearer understanding of the ways in which poor management leads to crime. The ordinance could return to the agenda as soon as the July 9 meeting.

A total of 43 businesses in the city have exemptions under city law that allow them to serve beer or wine after 2 a.m.

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.

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