SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) -- A change to a Surf City town ordinance has many beach visitors tipping their cups and drinking alcohol on the sand without worrying about getting in trouble. The changes have people split.
Town council made a minor change to its old ordinance striking out the words public beach. The change means beachgoers can now enjoy an alcoholic beverage without breaking the law.
"We did not realize that we were breaking any laws by having beer cans on the beach," Susan Brooks, visiting from Charlotte, said.
Brooks and her family visit Surf City every year. They say they have always drunk alcohol on the beach and were unaware it was against the law... was against the law. After a vote to change an ordinance, the town now says bottoms up on the beach is OK.
"That's great," Brooks said. "It puts our minds to rest."
But not everyone agrees with the change.
"I think if you allow alcohol here it's going to send the wrong message," Terri Harmon of Wilmington said. "You're going to have problems during Spring Break, and I just think it's going to take away from your tourism the families that visit here."
Town officials say the reason for the change is because visitors were already sneaking alcohol on the beach. Brooks says that was the reason why they thought it was OK before.
"We see it everywhere," she said, "so we didn't realize it was anything illegal."
There is still one area on the beach where alcohol is banned, the 500-foot area near the Roland Avenue beach access, but our camera still spotted beach goers enjoying a cold beer on a hot day.
Town officials say no other changes were made to other alcohol restrictions. They want the public to remember that glass containers are still not allowed on the beach.