Saturday, June 15, 2024

Beach equipment rental companies drawing some ire in Carolina beach

There have been complaints this year from residents and beach service permit holders alleging violations of the beach services policy

Beach service providers rentals for items like chairs and umbrellas at Carolina Beach, but there are rules in place to prevent unchecked development of the beach strand (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)
Beach service providers rentals for items like chairs and umbrellas at Carolina Beach, but there are rules in place to prevent unchecked development of the beach strand (Port City Daily photo/Michael Praats)

CAROLINA BEACH—There are perks to having beach services available to guests like chair and umbrella rental services, but in an effort to keep from over commercializing the beaches in Carolina Beach, the town has limited the number of vendors to three.

Even with a limited number of beach vendors, competition can be tough, which is why the town has set guidelines for the beach service vendors.

The Town of Carolina Beach’s Code of Ordinances sets out the rules for beach services in Section 28-62. That section states what businesses can and cannot do; but even with these rules in place violations happen.

According to Town Manager Michael Cramer, “Like most permits issued by the town we have a process by which people can identify issues and concerns to town staff.  When that happens we direct the appropriate staff to review the concerns, investigate the issue and determine the validity of the concern.

“Often the town may send out communications to the permit holders to clarify what is appropriate or not. With any new program we tend to tweak rules and guidelines until we feel we have a solid program. Last year we had two or three minor issues that needed clarification and we have had one minor adjustment this year,” Cramer added.

There have been complaints this year from residents and beach service permit holders alleging violations of the beach services policy.

On May 30 a Carolina Beach resident emailed Mayor Joe Benson writing, “I have recently been noticing that a (vendor has) … been setting up chairs and umbrellas in prime locations with reserved tags on them that never get used. I have let it go the last few times I have seen this but seeing that it continues to happen I must protest. I am a resident of Carolina Beach and I vote. I don’t think it is right that a company is allowed to continually hoard spots on beach. The beaches can be crowded enough as it is without a company dumping product taking up much needed space.”

What is not permitted

ATVs used by beach service providers must meet the same standards as the rescue ATVs used by emergency services (Port City Daily photo/File)

According to the beach services rules, “Items should be for transient delivery only and not displayed for rent or have any advertisement on the beach strand.

Beach chairs and umbrellas cannot be set up and staged for the potential of a rental on the beach unless it is part of a working agreement with a hotel or rental complex. Beach services vendors cannot set up a cabana tent to store material or rent material on the beach.

One of the other complaints the town has received is the aggressive nature of sales people soliciting services to beach visitors.

According to the policy, “Beach services operators shall not solicit beach patrons verbally or in an aggressive manner to rent items.”

The use of all-terrain vehicles is permitted for the delivery of beach chairs and umbrellas, but complaints of ATVs being used to solicit customers have been reported.

Carolina Beach staff is holding a meeting with the three owners of the beach service permits this week to discuss the expectations of the town.


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