Alcohol ordinance proposal on Tybee Island - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Alcohol ordinance proposal on Tybee Island


Would banning alcohol on Tybee Island's beaches, make the area safer?

It's a question some considered Thursday, as the city tries to address public safety concerns.The task force was a committee that the mayor formed to come up with a recommendation.

They're recommending that City Council pass an ordinance, with appropriate provisions, that would ban alcoholic beverages in specific public places.

The Beaufort County Sheriff was part of the conversation Thursday to provide his perspective on the total alcohol ban on Hilton Head Island's beaches.

"Regulating drinking in public places, I think, is almost an absolute necessity in order to have some control,” said Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner.

And although there was some discussion about adopting a similar policy on Tybee, that's not what the committee is recommending.

They decided to recommend a ban on alcohol in specific public places, not a total island-wide ban on alcohol.

This would still allow permits for certain festivals and events.

But regulating alcohol isn't a silver bullet.

"But that doesn't address traffic control, that doesn't address crowd control. Those are all things that were brought up as considerations,” said Keith Gay, Task Force member. 

The Tybee Island Police Chief acknowledged that 75 percent of the arrests they make are alcohol-related. And though he wasn't calling for a total, island-wide ban on alcohol, he said something should be done.

"Getting rid of drinking isn't going to make the traffic go away. It's not going to make the bad people go away, but it's a little bit of a chipping away in a positive direction to make it better for everyone here. We want to provide you with the best police services we can possibly do, and if we're going to do that, we need some help on trying to restrict other things,” said Tybee Island Police Chief Bob Bryson.

Their decision Thursday is only a rough starting point for the mayor and city council to consider going forward, so there's still a ways to go before anything becomes an official ordinance.

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