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Myrtle Beach could bar Ocean Boulevard shops from selling certain items

jlee@thesunnews.com

Myrtle Beach City Council will consider banning some items from the shelves of Ocean Boulevard shops as officials try to change the atmosphere in the central part of the beach.

A proposal would bar shops from selling drug paraphernalia, merchandise that references drugs, sexually-oriented materials and weapons. The zoning change would also stop shops from having “barkers,” or employees that call out to passerby, according to a copy of the ordinance that will be considered Tuesday.

The measure could affect a chunk of land from 16th Avenue North to 6th Avenue South, from the boardwalk to the businesses just behind Kings Highway, according to Planning Director Carol Coleman. But, she said, council may adjust those boundaries, which are not written into the draft of the ordinance.

It would have to be approved twice before going into effect, and allows shops in the affected area a 12-month period to operate without making changes. It would also require that shops maintain a working surveillance camera system.

After a string of shootings in April, with some near Ocean Boulevard, city officials have struggled with how to control the culture of the beach’s closest thoroughfare.

Some officials called the souvenirs sold there “smutty” and said that the environment created by the stores has attracted a criminal presence.

But store managers countered that recent violence was not their fault, and said the city needed to put more visible police on the streets.

Chloe Johnson: 843-626-0381, @_ChloeAJ

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