Business owners voice opposition to “family friendly” district, local groups also weigh in

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Some businesses owners along Ocean Boulevard voiced their opposition to the city’s proposed regulation of certain items sold on the boulevard.

In a meeting Tuesday, planning commissioners asked local business groups to also weigh in on the issue.

The Oceanfront Merchants Association told planning commissioners targeting certain areas of the city will not cut down on crime or improve the overall atmosphere of the boulevard.

Earlier this year, city officials proposed banning the sale of weapons, drug paraphernalia, and graphic clothing from 6th Avenue S to 16th Avenue N to make Ocean Boulevard more “family friendly.” An OMA representative said to be effective, the regulations would have to be citywide.

“Targeting a ten block area does not make Myrtle Beach family friendly,” said OMA representative Jan Connell. “That’s one small area. If we’re going to do this, it needs to be Myrtle Beach-wide and do it proudly.”

Downtown Redevelopment Corporation representatives said they want more of a definition of “family friendly.” The DRC wants its board to hold a special workshop with the planning commission before it gives an official opinion on the ordinance.

“Our focus is redevelopment,” explained DRC representative David Devok. “And it’s up for somebody else to determine what is appropriate to sell and not sell in a particular area.”

Buzz Plyler, who owns the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove, told News13 before the meeting the proposed restrictions are unfairly targeting business owners in that section of the Boulevard.

“I think it’s a much larger societal problem than this little overlay is going to be able to deal with,” he said.

During the meeting, Plyler voiced similar sentiments to the OMA representatives, saying the effort to reduce crime needs to be cross-city and not just in certain areas.

“In order to contain it you’re going to have to apply the overlay to the entire city. You’re not going to be able to contain it by applying it to a small portion of the city,” Plyler said.

Both the DRC and OMA said they have a lot more questions for the commission before they think anything official should move forward.

The planning commission will continue the discussion at its next meeting.