Letters to the Editor

Tents change nature of beach

I was at the Aug. 2 North Myrtle Beach City Council meeting and was very disappointed the council wavered in banning tents on the beach.

I have lived in North Myrtle Beach for six years. Before that, while raising my family at Fort Bragg, we were always visiting here. We even bought a time-share. We have seen a lot of growth in the past six years. Now as a resident I have noticed more and more tents on our beach.

There was a lady from New Jersey at the meeting. She said if we thought our beach was crowded with tents, we should see the beach in New Jersey. Do we really want in a few years people to say that about our beach? I think not. Is that why she is living here instead of there?

Now, let's get to the safety issue. It is hard for me to run on the beach when the tide is coming up, because of all the tents and their ties securing them. If I have a hard time, how do emergency vehicles get through? Also, in a wind storm you have four poles turned into projectiles, instead of one in an umbrella. I have seen these storms come up very fast on the beach. If you are using the argument that you are using plastic bags filled with sand to secure them, how many of those bags are being left on the beach? Lots. I have seen them. They are littering the beach and ocean. I walk and clean our beach almost every day. Also, in an emergency how fast can a tent be taken down versus a umbrella?

We heard evidence from the heads of public safety. They showed how those tents are a safety concern. The council needs to trust their judgment. Isn't that why we are paying the department directors? It was also suggested we set limits where tents could be set up. Who will monitor this rule? The same people who enforce the ordinance of no parking in public parking after certain hours? And don't get us started on fireworks. Parking is overflowing from the hotels onto beach access parking.

I have heard several arguments tent owners have had with our lifeguards and beach patrols. They should not have to endure that. As I walk along the beach I notice a lot of times there is the same amount of shade under the tents as the umbrellas. Yet the tents will take up a larger amount of space.

Also, we taxpayers are paying over $900 a day to clean up the abandoned tents. Surely we could put that money into better use. Maybe we would not need a tax increase. I know the council's job is not an easy one. I appreciate what they all do to try to balance tourism and residency. But, I implore them, please ban the tents.

The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach