Zoning to create a more ‘family friendly’ Ocean Boulevard
Downtown Myrtle Beach smoke shops will be allowed to sell their product while a civil lawsuit is debated.
In August, city council passed a ban on smoke and vape shops and their products in what is known as the Ocean Boulevard Entertainment Overlay District. The ban went into effect with the new year.
Several shop owners filed suit saying the ban was unfair as it did not apply to other areas of the city. They asked a judge to issue an order lifting the ban until the lawsuit could be decided.
A hearing scheduled for Wednesday in federal court to discuss removing the ban was abruptly canceled. Attorney Reese Boyd, who represents the businesses, said the hearing was canceled after the city reached an agreement with the shops that allowed them to sell their products. He added the city gave the shops everything the owners asked from the court.
The Overlay District runs between 16th Avenue North and 6th Avenue South and Ocean Boulevard.
After the ordinance was passed, the businesses filed suit and said the city, basically, took their businesses because the ordinance will impact or completely decimate the value of their stores.
The owners questioned the law that passed in first reading in 2017 and wasn’t brought back for second reading for more than a year. The owners also said the ordinance received little public debate in the 15 months between first and second reading.
This week, Myrtle Beach City Council moved to block new smoke and vape shops from opening in any part of the city in 2019 while it studies future zoning options.
City officials also filed their answer to the business owners’ lawsuit this week. They denied many of the allegations and said a state court would be better suited to hear the case. The city also stated that the proprietors lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.