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Beach perceptions leave some visitors with salty taste


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY)- "I consider Wrightsville Beach a very welcoming beach," said Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti. "It's a great place to live and visit and I think our residents take pride in welcoming people to our community."

But with a recent increase in parking fees and a ban on smoking at the beach under consideration many of our viewers say that can't be further from the truth.

WB wrote,"Come on, they are trying to drive everyone away from "THEIR BEACH". You know they only want locals there. I am sure they will allow the locals to smoke where they want to. It is like parking there."

With parking spaces already in high demand, town officials voted to raise the price to two dollars per hour, just a few months ago. But Cignotti says the increase was necessary to help meet the demand when the Wrightsville Beach population grows from 2,500 to 25,000 during the summer months.

"That effort was made to try to bring in the money to try to provide the services that not only visitors, but everybody expects."

LA 46 wrote, "The residents dont want you over there, unless you are a rich tourist whose gonna rent an expensive place for the weekend. If you are a local, they don't want you there. The beaches belong to all of us."

But Mayor Cignotti says residents realize how important tourists are to the local economy, and agrees everyone should share the beaches.

"Wrightsville Beach considers itself a family beach. If you ever go around the loop and look at all the moms and their children walking it you know that it's a place that we take pride in having families here."

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


smoking on beach

Someone needs to tell the people that live on wb they do not own the beach... if u want to ban smoking because of litter let's ban eating, drinking water, suntan lotion, toys, and so on as all of these items get left behind... or an even better idea ...let's tear the bridge down and wb people stay on your side of the water and we will stay on our side because obviously you don't want anyone there but yourselves

I stayed at a hotel five

I stayed at a hotel five minutes away from the beach. I went to the beach and was shocked at the $2/hr meter rate. I gathered all my coins together and it was $2.15. So I fed that coin sucking box. I got an hr and some minutes. As I was unpacking, I saw two ladies on a golf cart running around collecting the coins.
I figured I'll come back in an hr and feed that stupid coin sucking box again.

But I forgot and stayed there for 5 long hours. When I came back, I saw a can't-missed orange envelope on the windshield. "Uh oooh" came to mind. It was a $25/ticket for over meter fine. I thought "WTF is this?" In a crowded downtown ATL, over meter parking fine is $10. But in Wrightsville a whooping $25 ? Wrightsville beach might as well have a sign "NO VISITORS WELCOME!"

That was the first and last of my visit to this beach. At Wrightsville beach, the locals and the officals really make driving other folks away their full time jobs. Well take care Amigos, until all of you numb headed, money mongols grow the hell up and change the rules around there, no one in the right mind will make that beach their fav. spot to go to.

Knee-Jerk Reaction

Wrightsville Beach is having the same knee-jerk reaction that seems to be prevalent in society today...blame the smokers. It IS profiling, and I'm glad someone actually pointed that out. WHEN I smoke on the beach, it is a simple matter to keep my butts in one hand-made hole next to my chair, then put them in an empty drink bottle for disposal in the trashcans on my way out.

I don't know when we became the scapegoat for America's ills. I see trash, diapers, wrappers, drink bottles, etc left a lot more on the beach than cigarette butts. The largest population I see at all the beaches leaving trash are families with children.

So let's be honest. Ban children from the beach. Oh wait...that wouldn't be good or considered politically correct, would it? Who's the easiest target we can attack that will make it look like we're doing something? Oh yea! The smokers!!! We wouldn't want people to make the logical conclusion that we're unwilling just to actually ENFORCE the litter laws. We'll just attack a group of people, try to ban them, and make it all THEIR fault. It looks better.

So...lets forget the prevalence of residents drinking in their homes then walking around or driving around the island...attack the smokers.

idiots!!! this whole topic

idiots!!! this whole topic is crazy....smoke or not......get over it people!!! agree with smoking or not, people who smoke have a right to smoke if they want to.....whats next????...oh i know...if some people think you are to fat for a bikini..are going to pass a law for that too? get a life morons

Wrightsville Beach

I agree with the nonsmoking ban. If people would pick up after themselves and stop leaving the butts on the beach then there would be no problem. The beach and in fact the world is not your trash can. As for Wrightsville Beach it is not a friendly beach. They want your money but they don't want you.

Parking & Smoking

I love having Wrightsville Beach available for all of us. The parking going up this year was a shock but, I'll deal with it as long as it stays sensible down here. The smoking ban, as a recovering smoker I never agreed with keeping smokers from smoking freely but I have to tell ya, it's sad to look down on the ground anywhere here and see how many butts and garbage are on the ground everywhere. I have traveled and hiked all over America and I can say I haven't left a butt on the ground since 1976. if I don't have an ash tray I carry it out in my pocket. What's wrong with picking up after yourself? I have to pick up after my dog for the freedom of walking where ever we go and we can't use the beach during beach season or, they fine us $250 per dog I just found out; why do people with kids and smokers feel it's such trouble to pick up your own garbage? Look at the slobs that use Masonboro Island> What is usually the outcome? Everyone gets punished. I would like that to quit happening. I don't have kids but I do have to deal with all of those rules to protect your children. So carry out what you carry in and be a real American.


It would appear that the opinion is mixed on the beach. I for one have been going to Wrightsville for the last 35 years. I have seen a lot of changes, some good some bad. However, the trash issue is one that is not only unique to WB, it is everywhere! And yes, it is everyone's job to pick up what they leave. Sure, if I lived at the beach, I probably would have "my beach" syndrome too. It is just time that everyone takes care of themselves. I have sat on a local motel balcony and watched the "daytrippers" as well as those staying on the beach and it is about equal who dumps the most trash. But I saw one person leave their baby's dirty diaper on the street after changing it. How stupid is this person this is not their home!!!
But, the parking is another issue. I now only go to the beach from September to March 31. Staying at a beach front property is nice and not having to pay to park is even better. Money is a tempting thing and working in government I know that the $$$ are going away faster than they can be replenished. But $2 is a little steep.
Try day permits instead

surf city is better

if you wanna go to a beach that's actually worth it then make a trip to surf city the locals are friendly and the fishing is good trust me your better off going to surf city.

but if your like hanging out with people that think there poop don't stink and give you dirty looks from there 500k houses by all means go ahead.

i rather go some where people are friendly and good food rather than get a complex or getting stopped at random so the cops can check your bank account to see if your aloud on the island.

Common Sense Solution is if

Common Sense Solution is if you don't like the rules at WB don't go to WB. You belong at CB or TB!

Such an easy concept, yet

Such an easy concept, yet people still want to complain... Go bitch about WB while you're smoking at CB or TB and leave us alone!!!

Wrightsville Beach

My husband & I moved here in 1994. We've found Wrightsville Beach beautiful but not worth the hassel of getting a parking space and feeding the meters which are too expensive. The beaches belong to everyone. The town should have affordable lots available for visitors. The town wants the tourists dollars but not the tourists on the beach. Also we hate smokers near us on the beach. We both have allergies and pick spots away from anyone we see smoking but it seems someone always comes and gets next to us and lights up so we have to move. Butts in the sand are awful. Beaches should ban smoking.

$2 an hour for parking?! I

$2 an hour for parking?! I love Wrightsville Beach. Several generations of my family have lived on Wrightsville Beach, and that was many years ago before it became a beach ridden with HUGE ridiculous houses that block the natural beauty and scenery of the beach. I have fond memories there. I can't believe they are charging $2 an hour for parking. It's ridiculous. I know where we will not be going this summer!

Bad Experience

I had a bad experience with one of their friendly citizens who placed his trash can in a legal parking space and told me I could not park there because it was trash day. I ignored the arrogant man while he cursed me and removed the trash can and fed my quarters! So much for friendly day at the beach. This incident made a lasting impression with me of how some WB residents view day trippers. I now drive from my northern New Hanover County residence to go Topsail for a stress free day. It is a much more enjoyable despite the few extra miles. I lose an hour of my time on the parking meter at WB by unpacking and packing the car with two young children.Also you are not guaranteed a parking space unless you are an early arrival on the weekends. Not worth the aggravation! WB has an image problem that is to some degree well deserved. My advice would be to seek fun in the sun alternatives elsewhere if possible . They just want your taxpayer money for beach renourishment projects and your quarters to offset the burden on homeowners of this exclusive public beach.

Smoking at WB

Just don't smoke on the beach. Go out in the water to smoke. Then they can't touch you...


I just read a post by Reuters on Yahoo that said the Chinese have found uses for cigarette butts. Yes the butts have toxins in them that kill fish. (bummer) But the chemical(s) in them can inhibit rust. They have a good supply there. 300 million smokers, 60 % of the men there smoke. I'm through now. lol


I totally agree with "It's all Bull". Cigarette butts are the least of our problems on that beach. Yes, I see trash..mostly picnic trash. I believe adding more trash cans would help greatly. Though a little of an eye sore, it would make a considerable difference. I've seen many of overflowing trash containers w/trash blowing out of them on a busy weekend. Also, during the 'dog season' it is the unleashed dogs that are a problem. There should be sporadic walking beach patrol giving fines to owners of unleashed pets. As soon as they see the truck they grab their dogs and put them on leashes. All dog owners should be asked to show they have in their possession a plastic bag..if not fined. The residents of WB would love to see it be a 'gated community'...most will tell you that. Vixitors are not welcomed by the full time residents. They would love to raise the fees to $5/hr to drive everyone away!

WB is ridiculous

In the same amount of time I can drive to Topsail Beach, park for free, have many more options for dining and shopping then I can drive the 7 miles from my house Wrightsville. That is insanity. WB stinks.

Since when has WB been a

Since when has WB been a "welcoming" beach? It is clear that only locals or the "elite" are welcome. I would never recommend WB as a vacation spot. The residents take pride only in making visitors realize that they shouldn't be there....

W'Ville Beach Parking

I think W'Ville Beach should look to Topsail Island for some ideas. There are many classes of people that live there and they are still able to provide free parking to their visitors.

Paying for parking at WB has

Paying for parking at WB has done a pretty good job of keeping out the rift/raft. I would hate to see WB turn into CB or TB. WB is one of the few classy and clean beaches left on the east coast. Rift/Raft is more than welcome at CB and TB if thats the environment you are looking for!

Support WB!!!!!!

I can't believe people are complaining about the smoking ban and the parking fees!!! WB is the best beach and these are only positive enforcements that protect the environment and control the booming summer population!!! If you truly love WB you will deal with it and realize that you are supporting the town of WB by paying parking fees and preventing furthered air, water, and beach pollution by not smoking! If you don't like paying parking fees and if you can't go without your smoke, go to a beach that allows it! I support WB!

Wrightsville Beach- No Smoking on the Beach

My daughter worked on a "Clean up our Beaches" project in middle school three years ago. At the top of their list of trash left on the beach was cigarette butts, which made up 80% of the trash they collected at Wrightsville Beach. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable. They're made of plastic materials. I've yet to meet a responsible, considerate smoker. Obviously they don't care that their mess gets into our water ways or anywhere else for that matter. We all share this earth and that includes our beaches that smokers treat as their personal trash can. It's the inconsidate, irresponsible actions of smokers they themselves have created that has lead to the smoking ban. Good for you Wrightsville Beach!

to teresa

Not all smokers use the beach as an ashtray. You're making a mighty big judgement by that statement. I'm a smoker and I've never once left a butt on the beach, nor have I thrown one out of the car fact if I see one on the ground I pick it up and dispose of it..just like I would any other piece of trash..why is no one complaining about the other trash items on the's not just cig butts, it's all kinds of trash so why don't you have everything else that creates waste banned from the beach as well. I grew up on WB and I could honestly say I would never ever wanna live there again....the control issues have gotten out of hand.

Teresa, I totally agree


I totally agree about littering on the beach or anywhere for that matter. SOME people are, in your words iresponsible and inconsiderate with their trash, not just butts. SOME people that is!!! I am a smoker and I AM one of the responsible and considerate ones who disposes of my butts properly, along with my other trash! I hate littering, especially on the beaches. I have lived here all my life and have been at the beaches every weekend possible. I pick up other peoples trash and butts that is left behind. So when you talk about smokers, don't include everyone in your judgemental statements. There's ALWAYS bad apples in the bunch that ruin it for everyone, just like in this case.

That's a bunch of bull!!!

I've been volunteering for beach cleanup for over ten years, from Hutaff to CB, While cig butts are there and have to be picked up, the majority of trash is kids toys, deflated rafts, broken chairs, broken umbrellea, more kids toys, water bottles, beer cans, diapers, shoes, panties, swim goggles, candy wrappers, chewing gum, bottle caps, broken surfboards, tents, towels, beach bags and wads and wads of fishing line with hooks....sigh....and the list goes on and on....

The fact is, cig butts are NOT 80% of the trash, try more like 0.05%! How many butts does it take to to displace the volume of a beach chair? Problems with your math...again? You do not have to exaggerate you story to express your disdain against smokers. So take their rights, take the rights of the rest as well. This is still America. People like you are KILLING it!

I am not a smoker and do not support it, but to single out smokers as the primary beach litter bugs is akin to saying that every mesquito bite will induce Aids and Malaria. It simply is not true, no matter how you try to skew the numbers. The trash is from ALL that use the beach.

So here goes, Ban smoking, Ban beach chairs use, Enforce the existing alcohol use on the beach laws, Ban children playing with plastic toys, Ban the use of surfboards, Why don't you just ban seagulls that crap all over the beach and humans too for that matter.

This isn't about smokers, it's about trashy people! Half of them live at WB, so ban THEM!!! (Remember, these are most of the same kids that are near ruining the access to Masonboro Island...only because of their TRASH)

This stuff about smokers is a bunch of mamby-pamby, side-lipped "me-me-me-me" whining. If you're going to jump on a soapbox to make something happen, choose the REAL problem instead of attacking a miniscule piece of a problem that may ACTUALLY be directed at a personal habit you don't like.

ban it all..."Stepford Beach"

well it seems that smokers are THE PROBLEM at WB. Everyone should go through a police checkpoint before crossing the All MIGHTY BRIDGE so they can check for tobacco. BTW - since drinking is not allowed on WB, the same should be done for that. And let's just stop renting those houses to smokers and drinkers too. Maybe "Stepford" Beach will finally get what it wants.

and another thing

Isn't littering already illegal? So, we already have a problem of ineptitude in Wrightsville Beach and their ability to enforce the law.

Legislating Change is not cost effective

Your response was so excellent! Banning smoking on WB will not fix the problem. It doesn't even actually address the problem; therefore the solution will not be forthcoming. The problem is that somewhere during the course of American history, the Americans lost their manners and dignity. The result is a trashy littered beach and people complaining and fools trying to legislate a solution. The solution should start with one person, educating their young. Teach children to be responsible for their actions (i.e. littering), teach children to care for the planet, teach children to respect themselves and others (which would include nature).
How much is all this hype costing the community of Wrightsville Beach? How much will it cost the citizens to get this on a ballot? What will it COST the city to enforce this smoking ban? Will the send letters to the offenders (on paper- letterhead no doubt – with stamps on letterhead envelopes – typed by an hourly employee) beseeching them to pay their fines in a timely manner? Wrightsville Beach will obviously need additional resources for this smoking ban, new judges, court clerks, sheriffs and bailiffs, file clerks, oh and of course enforcement officers –or are they planning to deputize the year round residents, authorizing them to issue citations? How does the community plan to go about the collections process, for folks who don’t pay the fine that was imposed? Is this proposed ban even constitutionally legal? What is the definition of “pursuit of happiness” to a smoker? It might be cheaper to embark on a friendly advertising campaign, maybe they could post billboards on all the bridges as you enter the island…’Keep our part of America clean’! They probably can’t do that either, someone probably passed an ordinance banning billboards years ago, because they are so aesthetically unpleasant, to the extremely wealthy.
Oh yeah I am a smoker, none of my friends enjoy going to the beach with me because I am adamant about not littering and I fuss at them if they litter in my presence. I have stopped my car on the side of the road and literally thrown some of my best friends out of my car and drove off with them standing on the side of the road because they threw litter out. I just figured if they are going to litter, they can go right out with the trash they discarded, I don’t want them around me. It usually only takes once, for them to learn not to litter around me. I think I have a very effective training program.

Hi Teresa. Nice to meet you.

Hi Teresa. Nice to meet you. I am a smoker who has properly thrown away my butts way before it was fashionable. When I am around non-smokers or am out to dinner, I don't light up. Heck, I even wash my hands after every cigarette.

There. Now you've met one.

No smokers