TYBEE ISLAND, Ga (WSAV)- A vote by Tybee leaders this week could address concerns about safety during spring break celebrations. They are looking at an alcohol ban and new events law.
This ordinance would spell out penalties to people who organize social media promoted events on Tybee that result in dangerous behavior.
The catalyst was Orange Crush 2015, this was when multiple shootings, one on the beach, took place. Dozens were arrested and police uncovered many drugs being brought onto the island. It has always been a spontaneous event-driven by social media, but become controversial over the past years.
“I want them to know that we’re working to make this a bigger event, we want to make this a better event, and we want to make this a safer event,” says past organizer George Turner.
Promoter George Turner said that back in April, he told News 3 today that he is no longer affiliated with the beach party but solely the other promotions for events in Savannah and South Carolina. Whoever takes the reigns for the party may have to answer to Tybee leaders first. Leaders are looking at an alcohol ban this week and a new special events ordinance.
“It was Orange Crush driven I think but as we look at the social media and the police department does an excellent job keeping up with that they just find out that there are more and more of the college students that are coming to Tybee,” says Tybee councilwoman Wanda Doyle.
The special events ordinance defines events that would require public safety or other city resources. It lays out requirements for them and it defines pop up events, those stemming from social media promotions as well as how police and the city will handle them if they get unruly.
The teeth of the special events ordinance though comes from the possible ban of alcohol that would happen from March through Memorial Day in May. No one, except groups that have properly permitted special events on the beaches or parking areas will be allowed to have alcoholic beverages during those months.
Banning alcohol during spring break to deter dangerous parties is nothing new. Panama City beach recently passed the ban as did Galveston, Texas.
“It’s all about public safety it is also about the liabilities that come as a result of it if they continue to just pop up out here, we have to find a way to deal with that,” says the councilwoman.
Doyle adds that the law also came as a result of issues with planning “Baywatch” filming on the island as well as a religious celebration that lead to a drowning on the south end. council will vote Thursday night on the law.