Coastal Alliance discusses future of tents on beaches

The Coastal Alliance, a group of mayors who govern Grand Strand area cities, met on Wednesday to discuss the future of tents on area beaches.

Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley, Surfside Beach Mayor Doug Samples and Horry County Councilman Brent Schulz attended the meeting.

Mayor Rhodes and Mayor Hatley expressed their concerns about the amount of space tents take up, and the potential safety hazard it poses for first responders trying to get through.

Mayor Rhodes says the way people use tents has changed. "At one time tents were taken to the beach if you have a young child to help keep them out of the sun, especially a one, two, three-year-old. Now people take tents to the beach because you can buy them for $49.95 at the store, and you set the tent up and then you sit outside the tent."

Mayor Samples said tents haven't been as big a problem in Surfside Beach.

Possible solutions to the problem include only allowing tents in certain areas, or banning them all together.

All of the leaders expressed an interest in having a uniform rule, that way tourists don't get confused when they come to visit. A single system would also allow hotels and realtors to give renters one clear answer when they ask about beach policies.

The Coastal Alliance members in attendance said they would bring the issue up with their respective councils at the next possible meeting and discuss the issue again at their next meeting in early February.