Tybee Island City Council discusses alternatives to proposed open container restrictions

Local News

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – A recent vote by Tybee Island leaders to restrict open containers in a portion of the city is receiving major push back. The council met again Thursday night for a workshop to come up with alternative options.

Under the new proposed rules, you would no longer be able to carry an open container from 14th street to Alley 3. The restrictions would be in place on weeknights starting at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on the weekends. City leaders say they are only trying to enhance the quality of life for their residents.

Tybee Island residents turned out in a sea of red at the council meeting. They wore red as a symbol of opposing this new proposal to temporarily restrict open containers.

“It’s not fair to the residents, it’s not fair to the people that have bought homes here,” Tybee Island resident Ginger Schroder said.

Council members say there has been an increase in alcohol-related violence but Schroder doesn’t agree.

“We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I think it’s being a little bit inflated,” Schroder said.

Council members are now going back to the drawing board after taking heat for their first vote on this issue.

“I think we need to look at each of the issues separately and if there are things that could be done that are realistic and not draconian, that can address some of these issues,” Tybee Island Councilman John Branigin said.

Councilman Monty Parks originally voted for establishing these new policies after Tybee Island Police Chief Robert Bryson asked the council for help.

“It’s just how we know to reduce the risk. This was one way to go,” Bryson said.

“All it’s going to take are some of the YouTube videos you see out there, some of the confrontations, the court cases and people won’t come here,” Parks said.

Parks recommended that the council consider a task force made up of 10 people who are residents, business owners, and non-profits. All council members would nominate two people. Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen would be a leader for the group. The task force would then study the alcohol-related issues for 60 days and then present their findings to the council.

Schroder told News 3 this is something that could possibly work and she would be on board to be on the task force if asked.

“I pay a lot of taxes and a lot of money and I live on the beachside right up in the festival zone. I enjoy being able to walk to the bar at night and walk home if I want to, walk down to the beach and have a beer,” Schroder said.

Councilman Jay Burke recused himself from this process because he has his own liquor business. He would have added two more seats to the task force.

The public will have another opportunity to voice their opinions at the next council meeting on Nov. 12.

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