TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – An open container ban on one portion of Tybee Island could soon be enforced but some residents say they feel targeted by this. City leaders say alcohol-related crime has been on the rise.
“I think this open container law is ridiculous,” a Tybee Island resident said.
Tybee Island residents are outraged with the city council’s new proposal to ban people from drinking on city streets. The council heard from residents at Thursday’s council meeting.
“We have had multiple discussions with our police chief and police officers and we’ve asked them as a council how can we help you. Their reply to us was please help us with the issue of alcohol open containers, it’s our biggest problem,” Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions said.
Councilmember Nancy DeVetter took to Facebook to clear up the misinformation on the possible new restrictions. She has also been in contact with Tybee Police who say nearly 60 percent of arrests were alcohol-related last year.
City council members say the restrictions would be put in place for the areas south of 14th street to Alley 3. However, they add open containers would be allowed until 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends, but many residents are opposed to the plan.
“I’m like the rest of these people we moved here for the reason of the laid back atmosphere and we’re not the ones causing the trouble,” a Tybee Island resident said.
At least one resident sees where city council is coming from.
“We’ve seen drag races in the parking lots, drunken fist fights, urinating in the dunes and parking lots, and vomiting,” Tybee Island resident Tim Arnold said.
Some business owners that have already taken a hit by the pandemic say they fear this could be their last call.
“With the profits already lost in the service industry this year by not allowing open containers to go on, you’re removing easily hundreds of dollars a week in sales from each individual business out here,” Tybee Island resident Michael Crosby said.
The council will vote again on November 12. If passed, a trial period with the new restrictions will be put in place from January 1 until September 1.
A meeting has been scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. to speak with businesses about these possible new restrictions.