By Theresa Stratford for The Island Connection
The Seabrook Island Town Council meeting held on March 23 hit on a number of current and upcoming issues.
As for an upcoming issue, Council spoke about the expectation to hold the firework show on July 3. Town Administrator Joe Cronin reported that he spoke to the Seabrook Island Club which has agreed to proceed with the plans for the event. “Modifications would be put in place accordingly,” said Cronin.
His recommendation to Council was to proceed with the plans for the event cautiously even though the Isle of Palms recently cancelled its Fourth of July celebration.
Cronin does however have to give the firework vendor a final answer of holding the event by April 15. The Town has a deposit in place with this vendor from last year’s cancelled event of $8,250, which is half of what is owed in total. If the Town decides to proceed with the event they will owe the other half of the fee, but if they do not confirm by April 15, they will lose the deposit money.
Mayor John Gregg asked Council to vote on deciding to cancel the event during the meeting that day or to proceed with caution at this time – even though the April 15 deadline is right around the corner.
Enough members of Council decided not to cancel the event just yet, but instead to move cautiously along with the event plans and to inform the vendor by April 15 if they do indeed decide to cancel it.
An ordinance for first reading, Ordinance 2021-01, was related to animal and pet leash laws. This ordinance creates a new section in chapter 18 dealing with the Town Code on offenses against public safety.
It would require restraint of domestic household animals and pets upon public property or upon the property of another.
Cronin said this basically refers to anything outside the gate.
The second part of this new section read that it would be “presumed” that an animal was unleashed if the animal destroyed or damaged public property or attacked or threatened to attack on public property.
These provisions were for public property only and not intended to replace rules on the beach, which, as Cronin pointed out are seasonal and based on certain times for leashed or unleashed pets.
Mayor Gregg questioned the term “presumed” and wanted the terminology changed to be more defined before Council sees this ordinance again at second reading. This new section was approved by Council under the terms that the second section would be rewritten and the term “presumed” replaced.
Councilwoman Jeri Finke had an amendment to emergency ordinance 2021-02 related to modifying and extending requirements on face coverings within businesses of the town.
Finke said that her amendment to section 4 (a)(2) basically referred specifically to restaurants. She wanted to make the language more clear that servers should continue wearing masks and that patrons should wear a mask on the premises waiting to enter the restaurant and inside when moving around in the restaurant, but could take it off when they are sitting at their table actively eating and drinking.
She also said it needed to be consistent with what was stated earlier in the ordinance when they defined a face covering in section 2 (a)(3).
Finke reiterated that the Town still needed to remain vigilant at this time because vaccinated individuals could still spread the virus to others. The amendment was approved by Council.
Cronin said that this section also changed face coverings from mandatory to encouraged for the boardwalk and while riding in golf carts, boats or vehicles provided by a business.
The meeting also clarified that gatherings were still set at no more than 250 individuals. For gatherings needing a temporary use permit, the amount of people was set at 100.