NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The City of North Myrtle Beach is engaged in concessions operations on the beach for the purpose of providing funding for necessary life-saving operations such as lifeguard services and beach patrol services, in addition to providing public amenities such as beach cleaning and improved beach access. If private businesses are allowed to engage in concessions operations on the beach, it erodes the funding source the City uses to provide these vital services. If the City of North Myrtle Beach allows one private business to violate the ordinances, the City would be in a difficult position to deny others who wish to engage in the same or similar activity. This could lead to further decreased funding from concessions to provide necessary lifeguard and beach patrol services.
The city leaders of North Myrtle Beach are sensitive to the needs of residents, visitors, and business owners. A recently amended ordinance regarding business operations on the beach is leading to the sharing of misinformation.
The City’s Code of Ordinances, Section 5-24 does not stop a business owner from renting or selling beach wares online or off the beach. It does mean businesses cannot set those beach wares up on the beach. Business owners and managers are more than welcome to make financial arrangements and drop off the items at a home, a rental, or at one of the beach accesses.
The ordinance prohibiting private companies from doing business on the beach is decades old. In 1990, City Council passed Section 5-14 which prohibits any person from engaging in the sale, lease or rent of any goods or other property upon the public beaches unless he or she has been granted a franchise to do so.
Upon the public beaches, public waters or any public property except as otherwise authorized by city ordinance, no person shall sell, lease or rent any goods, wares or other property except that this provision shall not prohibit the holder of a beach franchise or license from exercising the rights and privileges granted therein, nor shall it prohibit the city from granting to the holder of a beach service franchise or license the right and privilege of selling or renting upon the public beaches or waters such items of personal property as are customarily sold or rented by the holders of such franchises or licenses, nor shall it prohibit city council from authorizing activities of a promotional nature on public property with the consent of council for each occurrence. Furthermore, this provision shall not prohibit the City of North Myrtle Beach and its authorized employees from selling and or renting goods and wares such as beach umbrellas and chairs and concession items in conjunction with the city providing lifeguard services.
The ordinance that was recently amended, Section 5-24, concerns placing umbrellas, beach chairs, and other beach wares on the beach was first passed in 2007. In 2010, it was amended to include authorized hours, placement of shading devices, size of shading device, removal and disposal, sand fencing, dune walkovers, and other obstructions.
In addition to the prohibition contained in Section 5-14, the recent change to Section 5-24 of the North Myrtle Beach Code of Ordinances further provides clarification as follows:
Regardless of the hours set forth herein and except for municipal beach service equipment or equipment authorized by franchise agreement, no person or company who for a fee or service as part of, or incidental to, its business operations for the sale, rental, lease, use or delivery of Beach Wares shall deliver to, place upon, set upon, or leave upon the public beach any Beach Wares.
The City of North Myrtle Beach is the only entity currently approved by Council to set up and arrange beach chairs and umbrellas along the City’s nine-mile shoreline. This service helps to fund annual recurring costs associated with beach safety and the maintenance, nourishment, and cleaning of our beaches. In turn, these funds help city leaders maintain one of the lowest property tax rates in South Carolina (i.e., 45 mils).
This includes but is not limited to:
- Beach Patrol Services
- Beach Raking
- Trash Removal
- Port-a-John Placement and Servicing
Again, these ordinances do not stop a business owner with a valid business license from renting or selling beach wares online or in locations other than the beach. It does, however, state that they cannot sell or place any beach wares (e.g., umbrellas, beach chairs, coolers, boogie boards, etc.) on the beach.