OCEAN ISLE BEACH -- Welcome to the beach, now take your cabana home with you. Ocean Isle Beach town leaders are considering a controversial idea. They want to limit the use of tents and cabanas in the beach community. Town commissions say cabanas and tents that are not taken down at the end of the day could pose a potential safety hazard. Cindy Wiegers is a regular vacationer at Ocean Isle Beach. She doesn't think cabanas and tents should be left out overnight, but thinks they are necessary during the day. "I don't think it's a good idea to ban them totally," Wiegers said. "Because people need shade." The town of Ocean Isle Beach is considering making beachgoers take down their cabanas and tents after a day in the sun. They may ban them all together. The goal behind the idea is to reduce beach clutter and protect the sea turtle population. Ocean Isle Beach Mayor pro tempore Ed Blythe said, "This is a turtle nesting sanctuary and we do have lagerhead turtles coming on to the beach. They come mostly at night, and we did have one this year that got hung on some equipment." Chris Hester has been coming to Ocean Isle Beach since 1970. He says if town commissioners ban cabanas and tents, the beach will be less inviting to tourists. Vacationer Chris Hester said, "It seems to be kind of unfriendly, like an unfriendly atmosphere maybe actually um take it down partially and just leave the structure up or something like that it would be a little more friendlier than having to take the tent down and put it back up." But that could pose a problem. Nine-year-old Tyler Jones, who plays football on the beach, says tents that are only partially taken down can be hard to see, even during the day. Town commissioners will discuss the proposed cabana ban at their next meeting September 11. The idea is to get input from beachgoers before making a decision.
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