It’s official: North Myrtle Beach council votes to ban beach tents

March 17, 2014 

Chuck and Pam Smith of Charlotte take down their beach tent July 22, 2010, at the beach near Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. "We think they are safer than umbrellas," said Chuck Smith. " We saw six umbrellas fly by the other day and no tents." As some cities like North Myrtle Beach prepare to ban beach tents, others, like Myrtle Beach, say they have no problems because they have always had strict rules in place to keep the tents from blocking lifeguards and other emergency personnel.

BY RANDALL HILL / RHILL@THESUNNEWS.COM Buy Photo

The North Myrtle Beach City Council voted 4-2 Monday to bar the use of what it terms “shading devices other than umbrellas” from May 15 to Sept. 15 on its beaches, according to a news release from town spokesman Patrick Dowling.

Proposals to halt the use of the popular beach tents have been discussed and implemented along the Grand Strand’s beaches amid much debate following concerns that they pose a hazard for emergency response teams.

Monday’s vote was the final reading for the issue in North Myrtle Beach. Voting for the ban were: Mayor Marilyn Hatley; Nicole Fontana; Terry White; and Fred Coyne. Those against were: Bob Cavanaugh and Jay Baldwin. Hank Thomas was out of town and did not attend the meeting.

Under the new rule, shading devices other than umbrellas are prohibited during the summer season. The law defines an umbrella as having a collapsible “circular shade no greater than 9 feet in diameter.”

Myrtle Beach and Horry County are also in the process of enacting similar rules. In its current form, Horry County’s ordinance would bar the use of the tents year-round. Myrtle Beach must vote on the measure again and may amend theirs to match the county’s. The county’s rule must survive two more votes.

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