Three Surfside board members quit: ‘I didn’t know whether to laugh, scream or cry’

Three members of advisory boards in Surfside Beach quit Tuesday night, citing dysfunction on town council.

Tuesday’s town council meeting included a long discussion as the panel went through the town’s tree ordinance line by line and suggested specific changes.

The town had spent weeks examining the ordinance, which includes complex rules on whether residents can remove trees from their properties. It had already been reviewed by the town’s planning commission.

“I didn’t know whether to laugh, scream or cry. I don’t know if you guys even read what we gave you,” said Betty Lowery, before resigning from her seat on the commission during the meeting. “We gave you a good, workable ordinance, and you shredded it.”

Sandra Elliott, a member on the panel whose term ended in 2020, also stepped down.

“Council has lost faith in the planning commission, and I too have lost faith in you,” she said.

Harry Kohlmann, chair of the parking committee, also expressed frustration over the council’s handling of new parking rules.

“We all elected you to represent us. We didn’t elect you because you’re experts on tree ordinances or parking regulations,” Kohlmann said.

Seats on Surfside Beach’s committees and commissions are volunteer positions. Members are appointed by town council and can also be removed by town council.

At the end of the meeting, several members of town council thanked the volunteers for their service to the town.

“You can come and call us names, it’s all right,” Councilman Ron Ott said. “We’re trying the best we can. We’re not super people. We’re just like you, we used to sit out there.”

Chloe Johnson: 843-626-0381, @_ChloeAJ

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