Myrtle Beach City Council voted yesterday 5 for with 2 against on a new overlay district that bans the sale of products sold in all other areas of Myrtle Beach. The district will run from 6th Avenue South to 16th Avenue North. The banned products include: CBD oils, alternative nicotine, vapor products, and e-cigarettes. All are legal products and will be sold in every other area of the city. Councilmen Mike Lowder and Gregg Smith voted against the measure.
Most residents online, in the comments section of one local newspaper’s Live-Stream, felt the measure was heavy handed and probably illegal. We counted. Comments overall online, last night, were 40 to 1 against the measure and personally against the mayor. A large number of residents were highly critical of Mayor Brenda Bethune’s conduct.
In a surreal display, best defining the day, the City Police Chief held up a tee shirt stating: It’s Only Illegal If You Get Caught.
IS CITY COUNCIL’S VOTE LEGAL? INJUNCTION POSSIBLE
Mayor Bethune insisted throughout the meeting that the measure was Council’s legal right, however, several lawyers in the group, including local attorney Reese Boyd and Surfside Lawyer, Gene Connell, questioned the merits of those statements. Private discussions from one “out of the area” lawyer included talks of filing an injunction to stop the measure from taking effect before the January ban begins. Questions were also asked as to why existing owners were not grandfathered into the new ordinance. They were not.
Another ongoing question which City Manager John Pedersen skirted, but attempted to address was: Why was the ban not being enforced city-wide?
This past Sunday, MyrtleBeachSC news covered one Downtown Redevelopment (DRC) Board Member’s ongoing purchases of properties, one of which was sold to him by a city-harassed downtown property owner: https://myrtlebeachsc.com/drc-leader-buying-up-downtown-land/ . The DRC is a private corporation owned by the City of Myrtle Beach. City Manager John Pedersen sits on the board of the DRC as well. Speculation remains that the new ban, voted in by city council, will only accelerate those types of purchases before the 7th Avenue corridor extends into Highway 501 in 2020, making that street the gateway into downtown Myrtle Beach.
The city of Myrtle Beach has been aggressively working to take any measures City Manager John Pedersen deems necessary to change that area of the city.
Whether the matter is legal or not, challenges to the ordinance will cost private business owners thousands of dollars and several years of fighting the city in court with likely diminished sales during the entire period of that fight. Meanwhile, the city can fight back with zoning enforcement and our tax dollars.
Comments on the Sun News Thread included:
Comments on Mayor Bethune
Comments On Entire Council
Former Politicians And Candidates Weighed In Online As Well
MyrtleBeachSC news will be discussing this developing story with residents at our Wednesday Water-Cooler Town Hall LiveStream today at 12 noon. Broadcast will be live from the Warehouse in Conway, S.C.