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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Wrightsville Beach is one step closer to enforcing a smoking ban.

During a special meeting Thursday, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to put the ban to a public vote.

Taking the butts off the beach has been a long-term effort for Danielle Richardet, who has collected tens of thousands of washed up cigarettes and helped organize a petition that led aldermen to bring a smoking ban to a public vote.

“The ball is rolling and something is going to happen with this,” Richardet says. “I am excited either way. I’ll be out all summer cleaning the beach and Surf Rider will be out rallying everyone to get to the polls so I think it’s going to be an exciting election.”

If approved in November, Wrightsville Beach would become the first beach in North Carolina to prohibit smoking. But even if it does pass, some say the town would have issues enforcing the ban.

A smoking ban can only be enforced on town-controlled property. Colin Eagles, who lives in Wrightsville Beach, says the defining line between town and state property changes with the tides.

“It’s going to be impossible,” says Eagles. “If you go out there at low tide and you’re in the area that’s dry below where it had been wet at high tide, then you’re on a section of the beach where there is no smoking ban and the town has no authority to impose one.”

Though the ban could be a landmark ordinance for the state, Eagles says it’s just not worth it.

“If you leave your cigarette butt, you can be fined $250 today,” he says. “We don’t need an ordinance to deal with that.”

Aldermen voted 3-2 against the proposed ban ordinance. If the ban passes smokers who light up on the beach could be given a $250 fine.


Comment on this Story

  • cintrek

    Quit you’re belly aching & grow up. Pick up after yourself, your children, pets, etc. & realize your mama ain’t gonna do it, then we wouldn’t be having these conversations. Waisting time/money on what your parents should have already taught you. Common courtesy & respect of our public spaces go a long way in making life a whole lot less stressful.


    I’m a hardcore right wing conservative…I’m lovin’ it! All these “it’s my right to smoke where I want when I want no matter who it affects” idiots can stick their reeking ashtray smelling self and deal with it! Wonder if this will make the editors cut…probably not.

  • BillytheThinker

    My understanding is that Wrightsville Beach is a public beach and as such it belongs to the state of North Carolina. If that is the case, shouldn’t any citizen of NC be allowed to vote on these types of regulations not just the town of Wrightsville Beach? Is this proposal even legal? I live 4 miles from a public beach, but I can’t vote on the ban? Something doesn’t seem right here. The town of Wrightsville Beach does not “own” the public beach, do they?

  • GuestDog

    Okay WB Elected Officials. It appears as though you are making it official, let’s close the beaches to all but the elite!!!!! As the general statutes require, you will only be able to enforce the ordinance on Town owned property. Heard of the high water mark? The beach belongs to ALL people and therefore not all owned by WBNC. I have been going there for over 35 years and it used to be a great place. I quit going in the summer when the parking fees started and now this is loooming on the horizon.
    I am not smoker but feel that if they want to smoke in public then that’s their right. Remember we do have a constitution to ensure that. What about drinking alcohol in public? Isn’t that against the law and as such maybe they need to police that as well as noise better.
    WB elected, concentrate on more IMPORTANT matters like your budget instead of paying for an item on the ballot. You have more troublesome issues to be concerned over

  • Guest6979

    Just goes to show you how many people know the rules of WB. Alcohol is already banned.

  • Guest7969

    law will do NOTHING..wanna smoke?…just go stand in ankle deep water and there is absolutely NOTHING they can do about it! This is nothing more than ANOTHER DO NOTHING LAW to make someone feel all fuzzy.

  • robo

    I am not a smoker and do not like it when cigarette butts are left on the beach. But this is a much larger issue than smoking. It is about whether an individual community can control all actions on a public beach. This is a state issue, not a local one. Personally, I stay away from Wrightsville Beach already due to their parking charges and fines.

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