MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Mount Pleasant Town Council held a special meeting Friday to decide if it wanted to take action regarding access to public beaches on the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island.
Town Council voted unanimously to send a resolution to the leaders of the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island urging both to lift restrictions to allow access to beaches for non-residents.
Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie says the purpose of the non-binding resolution is to open beaches to the public for recreation and exercise.
“What we’re looking for is safe, COVID19 minded access and activities on the beach,” says Mayor Haynie.
The resolution comes just a day after Mount Pleasant Councilman Jake Rambo said the restrictions were an unfair practice.
“Either the beach is open or it’s closed,” says Rambo. “You can’t barricade the state’s roads to essentially create a private beach for your residents.”
Rambo says it’s time for the island communities to lift restrictions and bans for non-residents.
“I do not believe that our residents will stand idly by while the islands use our tax dollars to create their own private beach,” says Rambo.
Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie says the council is not trying to tell either island how to operate, he says the goal is to work together.
“Our resolution is very respectful of their sovereignty as the islands,” says Haynie. “It does not accuse them of anything we’re not qualified to do.”
Isle of Palms resident Ben Marks believes the Isle of Palms City Council has made the right decisions.
“I think above all, the various town and city councils are doing their best to listen to their citizens and represent the concerns they have about their citizens well being,” says Marks.
Mayor Haynie says there is a rich history of working together between the three communities and hopes the resolution for beach access can be another example of that.
“And we want to look for a way that we can respect that and keep everybody safe including our citizens and find away to have beach access,” says Haynie.
Isle of Palms Mayor Jimmy Carroll says he strongly disagrees across the board with the stance Mount Pleasant council member Jake Rambo is taking saying restrictions are necessary to protect citizens and first responders.
Sullivan’s Island Mayor Patrick O’Neil says he believes his council has taken the right steps to protect both residents on the island as well as visitors.