TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. – A proposed motion has been set for the alcohol ban on Tybee Island. City council discussed it at Wednesday night’s meeting and heard what community members had to say.
“I just don’t think the right way to approach this is to penalize residents and visitors who are not violating any laws, who are not creating any problems, but yet now we’re going to be hit with restrictions on what we can and can’t do,” John Branigan, who’s lived on the island for 16 years, said.
Not only was there tension with Tybee Islanders, but also between city council members. Council members proposed an alcohol ban that would run from March 2nd to the first Saturday in May. They added a change in the container policy from 22 ounces to 18.
This is an effort by the Mayor to prevent Tybee from turning into spring break central.
“We don’t want this behavior in our community,” Jason Buelterman, Tybee’s mayor, said. “I don’t believe we have a spring break problem on Tybee, but what I don’t want is for us to have one in the future.”
Council members like Wanda Doyle and Barry Brown are against the idea of the ordinance. They say there’s nothing stopping kids from sneaking their booze on the beach.
“As councilman Brown said, these kids are going to bring the alcohol lout here anyway,” Branigin said. “This is not something that bans possession. It bans open container and when I was a kid I learned how to circumvent the rules. These kids aren’t stupid.”
Buelterman also pointed out how this type of ordinance has worked for places like Panama City and Daytona Beach.
All of this is in part of the Orange Crush incident nearly two years ago. Two people were shot and council members don’t want a repeat of what happened.
“Alcohol is not a major factor with the issues during Orange Crush,” Branigin said. “So, if alcohol is not a major factor how is this open container ban gonna make any difference? It’s not.”
This is still in the early stages. Council will continue to discuss this matter at their next meeting which is the second Thursday in February.