Surfside Beach council candidates talk pier, parking during debate


For the past few months, Surfside Beach Town Council members have moved from one big issue to the next, often with raised voices and sharp differences in opinion.

However, Monday night's debate between the seven candidates vying for three of the seats on council was, by comparison, tame.

"My position on offshore drilling is very clear. I'm not for it," incumbent Tim Courtney responded to the opening question.

The other six candidates remained silent in agreement.

On the issue of parking, the candidates agreed that the town didn't have enough, especially near the pier.

However, they opposed building a parking garage within town limits.

There was a minor division over how unfriendly the town was toward businesses, with Bruce Dietrich saying the town was very unfriendly, and Courtney hedging slightly, using the word "somewhat".

Carol Cook said her priority was streamlining the town's ordinances, and was joined by several other candidates in agreement.

"I would concur," Cabell Young said. "I think that we found there were some conflicts in there."

Incumbent David Pellegrino drew applause when he said the new pier should have three one-story buildings, to maximize rent the town could collect without breaking the bank.

"We're responsible for paying for the buildings, so we need to budget that in," he explained.

At the end of the night, some audience members said they enjoyed meeting the new candidates and hearing their views.

Some of the people seeking a seat on council also said they learned a thing or two.

"I got to hear the views of some other candidates. And we're similar in some and we're not in some, but it doesn't mean I'm right and they're wrong," Debbie Scoles said.

Candidates will gather for a forum on March 28 at the Holiday Inn. The election is scheduled for April 3.

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