Brunswick County, N.C.: Ocean Isle ba...

Brunswick County, N.C.: Ocean Isle bans cabanas on beach

There are 57 comments on the Myrtle Beach Online story from Sep 12, 2007, titled Brunswick County, N.C.: Ocean Isle bans cabanas on beach. In it, Myrtle Beach Online reports that:

“For example, stay out of the sun during the heat of the day.”

Ocean Isle Beach commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to ban cabanas and similar structures from its seven-mile strand.

The action comes after at least three years of watching the number of cabanas mushroom along the oceanfront and trying to get people to voluntarily take them down at night.

Commissioners asked for the ordinance to be drafted last month, but wavered after receiving a number of e-mails from tourists asking them to reconsider. Heavy resident input since then favoring a complete ban sealed the deal. Read more

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Myrtle Beach Online.

Goodbye OIB

Washington, DC

#21 Jul 8, 2008
In planning for our 22nd yearly trip to Ocean Isle Beach this year, we were investigating changing houses to accommodate our growing “pilgrimage.” In the last two decades+, as our family has grown and our circle of friends has expanded, we have steadfastly reserved the same week of every year to rendezvous at OIB for a pleasant, relaxing, family vacation. As our children have gotten older, they too now are coming with their families – in some cases coming from across the country to meet for this week. Our group, now approaching 50 people, has made a concerted effort to preserve this week in our busy lives to take the time to get together and truly relax for at least one week of the year.

OIB has been our choice for all this time due to the pleasant family atmosphere, the warm and pleasant water, the quiet and expansive beach, and in general, the type of environment that makes for a pleasant stay. It has been a tradition where many people have rearranged their schedules, postponed or canceled trips, negotiated time-off from their jobs – and all in all made the sacrifices necessary to make it happen, year-after-year.

Unfortunately, this year will be our last year – and if possible, we will move this summer’s trip a bit North, or South, as well.

The reason for this is in the course of our planning, we stumbled upon Section 38-34 through 36 - Regarding Placement of Unattended Obstructions on the Beach and realized that our days of true vacation were over if we stay again at OIB. Every year, we have set up our cabanas and beach chairs, and carefully and respectfully set up a volleyball court, which we would leave up until our departure. The setup time is sufficiently long that this is not an activity that we will do every day, and the enjoyment and relaxation we have experienced in the past will be no longer be possible. Our structures were not in the way of the emergency vehicles, the trash pick-up trucks, or even the turtle nests. We always picked up the beach before, during, and after setup and have always been courteous to fellow beachgoers and residents alike. Further, our volleyball court was used by many other vacationers and it was a great gathering point for beach fun. We always left the beach cleaner than we found it.

So, imagine our surprise when we read the ordinance, especially since this information was not shared by our Real Estate agent before we put our deposit down. I hope that this recent ordinance serves whatever purpose you enacted it for, but at least one by-product is that you will be losing 50 conscientious, regular beachgoers and tourists. Further, I can’t imagine that we are alone – and maybe not this year, but certainly next, you will be wondering what happened to the OIB tourist revenue...
find a real cause

Stanford, CA

#22 Jul 8, 2008
This really blows. Like other posters have said, what is the difference to the turtles between 4 umbrellas and 1 cabana? The only people it annoys is the tourists. And frankly, because of the OIB council, I now hate turtles. These stupid environmentalists need to watch some freaking Animal Planet or Discovery channel and realize that the reason turtles lay hundreds of eggs is because they expect most of them to die. Darwin would be pissed if he saw this. All they're accomplishing is having a bunch of spoiled survival-impaired turtles running around being shark bait. OIB - "Weakening the turtle species, one cabana at a time!". Congratulations!
OIB government blew it

Washington, DC

#23 Jul 9, 2008
Let's see...8 families who have been going there for 15 years+, all with 3 or 4 kids who are now almost grown, some married, etc. who would continue to go. We rent 5 houses, eat out, shop in the gift shops, buy groceries, play miniature golf. You calculate the lost revenue. We have little kids (grandchildren), older folks with melanoma, etc. Our cabanas were not left on the beach or "tethered" down in a way that would make people trip. We cleaned up our area and other people's trash many many times during the course of the week. We take care of all the homes we rent, including fixing minor things while we are there. We will not be returning in 2009 and would not have come in 2008, had our realtor told us about the new regulation. Obviously, they wanted to keep it under wraps because they know what's coming in terms of unrenewed reservations. Have you looked at June 2009 on the McClure site? Most houses are VACANT. We may even consider legal action against the realtor for not disclosing this important bit of information in our renewal contract. BTW, at least McClure has a tiny link on their website to the change. Cooke, Sloane and Williamson: nothing. I think they could have legal trouble...
A visitor from Maryland

Denver, CO

#24 Jul 9, 2008
After reading Tim's comments, I am reminded of the Darwin awards, whereby people rid the species of those whose gene pool cannot be sustained because of incredibly stupid acts. THis is an incredibly stupid act. It is unfortunate that the OIB commissioners and the general citizenry of OIB have been infiltrated, and taken over, by turtle loving, people hating, uncompromizing people. My advice to OIB is to be wary of unintended consequences. When a community is taken over by a radical fringe, with an inability to compromise, the results can be far from what was originally intended. As for me, I will grant Tim's wish and stop coming to OIB and go spend my hard earned money elsewhere.
An OIB newbie

Lawrenceburg, IN

#25 Jul 9, 2008
Hey; great posts!!

I'm glad I stumbled across this blog. I was planning on going to OIB for the first time this year ... but no longer.

Thanks for the heads-up. Looks like the OIB folks went a little extreme, when a tweak would have worked. Easy for me to fix though. Good luck to everybody else.
OIB regular - no more

Laurel, MD

#26 Jul 9, 2008
My family and friends have been coming to OI for the same week for 15 years. This will be our last. The wide expanse of beach front that enabled us to utilize cabanas for sun protection, and not infringe upon others and their areas was of great benefit, as was the family friendly atmosphere.
Sadly neither of those applies anymore. I am afraid that a vocal minority of people have pressured for a legislative restriction to a non-existent problem. Surely cabanas do not present a problem to newly-hatched turtles, especially when most of them are now treated to "special delivery" via hand-carried coolers to the surf from their dune hatching areas. And this beach, far more than most, is plenty wide enough to allow for cabanas to be established without impact on others.
Another one gone

Hyattsville, MD

#27 Jul 9, 2008
My family has vacationed annually at Ocean Isle Beach since 1976 with few exceptions. During our 32 years of visiting, we've seen the beach change from a nice, quiet and little known gem of a beach to the crowded, bustling island it has become.

When we started going to OIB, there were only 5-6 canals and the west end was basically a long strip of deserted beach, except for the tall condos. OIB has been a summer focal point for our family now across generations. Naturally we have been somewhat disappointed to see our little getaway transformed into a crowded tourist beach but we've loved it so we just dealt with it. We are among those who bring 8-10 families per season spread across 3-4 houses.

This new ordinance is more than disappointing, it's downright disheartening. Like several of the previous posters many in our group have young children or elderly parents who simply can't tolerate the sun. They need an expanse of shade to enjoy the beach.

It is criminal that the rental agencies took our non-refundable deposits without disclosing this change in beach use regulations. I can tell you quote honestly that we would have gone elsewhere had we known this in advance, rather than finding out 3 weeks before our scheduled vacation.

What's more criminal is that these rental agencies didn't do more to fight for the rights of the customers that have filled their bank accounts for so many years.

It almost seems hypocritcal to me that OIB has chosen this stance. OIB long ago sold it's soul to developers and to the tourists that were bound to accompany so much over-development. Why now turn your back on them and treat them like the red-headed step child?

I'm all for cleaning up the beach but it just seems that the majority of responsible beach users have the pay the price for a small minority of irresponsible people who can't clean up after themselves.

Only time will tell as to whether there are any adverse ramifications from this decision. It just seems to me that with all the foreclosures happening in today's economy that OIB is putting many of it's homeowner's needlessly at risk by creating these types of barriers to public enjoyment of it's beautiful beaches.

We'll go this year because we're stuck with it, but next year we will re-evaluate and consider other locations that better fit our needs and provide the welcoming and accomodating type of environment we are seeking for our precious and limited leisure time together.
A visitor from Maryland

United States

#28 Jul 10, 2008
Good post from Centreville. I am also concerned that my realtor has said nothing. I finally sent them an email asking them about this ordinance. Their reply was very carefully worded and tried to put a positive spin on it. I plan to folowup with another email that suggests that they are misleading us by not letting us know about this major change. Can anyone else say "class action"?

Kernersville, NC

#29 Jul 14, 2008
Nice welcoming attitude Tim. George Wallace called, he wants his campaign manager back. You ought to run for city council.

I have always been of the opinion that if you don't like something, stop it. Looks like Sunset or Holden will be the place to go next year.


Washington, DC

#30 Jul 17, 2008
You guys should check out the renewal rates for next summer. I just checked RH McClure Realty for the week of 7/4/09 - 7/11/09, houses with 4 bedrooms or more, and got availability at 68 of them. In addition, if you click on the house and look at June 2009, most of the houses have at most 1 week reserved. That was NEVER the case before. We were trying to switch weeks for years and could NEVER get an earlier week. You'd think they would get the message. I wonder what's happening with the other realtors.

With the price of gas as it is, the cost of food, and now this stupid ordinance, I'm not surprised people would like to spend their hard-earned money where they feel welcome instead of persecuted. I wonder how long it will take the OIB establishment to figure out that they plunged their town into an economic depression...

Ocala, FL

#31 Jul 18, 2008
Most locals at OIB don't care as they have cashed out many moons ago to the overdevelopment. In reality what will happen is the current renters won't come back, but other people will. The agencies will rent the houses to other people.

Does anyone know the specific ordinances at the other close beaches?
Kenworth man

United States

#32 Jul 20, 2008
I dont know what all the fuss is about!

Shallotte, NC

#33 Jul 21, 2008
Shade Monger wrote:
<quoted text>
Great attitude Tim...I hope you loose your job and starve to death, but go ahead an enjoy the beach while you can. I used to care about the beach erosion issues, but now I hope mother natu
re washes OIB away, inch by inch.

Nice attitude, you hope someine starves to death b/c your lazy butt won't take down a cabana daily. Ocean Isle was fine before you came, it will be fine after your gone. Did you ever consider that people like you are the reason cabanas are banned in the first place. Let's everyone drive up north to places like Ohio and Jersey to vacation every summer, oh wait , it sucks, nevermind.

Shallotte, NC

#34 Jul 21, 2008
I'm enjoying my beautiful Ocean Front view in my vacation as I type. Are people really "boycotting" OIB? You really can't tell.

Lawrenceburg, IN

#35 Jul 21, 2008
Amy wrote:
<quoted text>
Nice attitude, you hope someine starves to death b/c your lazy butt won't take down a cabana daily. Ocean Isle was fine before you came, it will be fine after your gone. Did you ever consider that people like you are the reason cabanas are banned in the first place. Let's everyone drive up north to places like Ohio and Jersey to vacation every summer, oh wait , it sucks, nevermind.
Amy, I think you miss the point. There are some extreme posts from people like Tim and Shade Monger. To most, these are overreactions. The consensus seems to be that most people wouldn't mind taking down cabanas daily, although that's a departure from the last couple decades and an inconvenience. What people mind is that cabanas are banned. That is an extreme position that you would not expect from a thoughtful governance.
My experience is that the world is smaller than you think. If we start badmouthing people from different geographic areas and backgrounds for no good reason, things can degenerate quickly and silly comments and attitudes can come back to bite you.
Personally, I was born and raised at the Beach (not OIB, however) and work has taken me inland. I like to "vacation" on the Beach, but I still consider myself a native when I do. I find the OIB Ordinance over-the-top, but I welcome thoughtful feedback from others with alternate views. There have been many thoughtful posts on this site (and the related topic at ) and I hope to see many more.
Careful generalizing "people like us;" we're not all cut from the same cloth and I can hardly think that outlawing cabanas had anything to do with me.

Washington, DC

#36 Jul 21, 2008
Amy wrote:
I'm enjoying my beautiful Ocean Front view in my vacation as I type. Are people really "boycotting" OIB? You really can't tell.
Amy, I agree with Dave.

Besides, if we were all so fortunate as to be among the <5% who had Ocean front rentals or residences, then we wouldn't need cabanas. That's just the point. The cabanas provide some respite from the heat and sun for the people who have to lug their beach gear from a distance and can't go back and forth to the convenient protection of their "ocean front view".

When the priviledged few make the rules it creates these types of attitudes. Umbrellas are more inconvenient, are more dangerous in any kind of breeze, and provide limited sun protection for more than a single person in relation to a cabana.

I really don't get the attitude -- or the ordinance -- for which I'm still waiting for a rationale explanation. Is the goal to make enjoying the beach as challenging as possible?

Further, it's silly if the OIB commisioners don't reconsider a clearly absurd policy. As others have pointed out, it's not this year, but the next year that will have the impact on tourism. Many people, such as myself, found out the hard way about the ordinance as our rental agent didn't see fit to notify us before we comitted.

I have to assume this attitude stems from the minority, as my typical interaction with the locals has been extremely positive, with all whom I have been in contact with welcoming to us tourists.

United States

#37 Jul 22, 2008
Good Post Dave. I agree that most people are missing the point. The point is not that "we" tourists mind taking down the canopies every night, its that we weren't given the option. It was just stripped from us.

Kingsport, TN

#38 Jul 28, 2008
Just finished our 9th year vacationing at OIB, and were surprised at the new canopy ban. Under protest we proceeded to the local beach store to purchase our umbrellas. What we found were a limited selection of overpriced equipment. Imagine that. And don't forget the umbrella auger. In total we dropped almost $150 on 2 flimsy umbrellas and stands.

The sadest part of our vacation was on the 1st Monday, as we watched an eager family (grandpa, grandma, two couples in their mid-30's, 3 kids and 2 infants come down to the beach and set up a rather small canopy. Almost immediatly the beach patrol came by and handed them the infamous slip of paper with the new ordinance. I was close enough to hear the conversation, but the rather rude policeman gave them 45 minutes to take it down or be cited. 2 elderly persons, and the rest of the family left the beach much disappointed.

Seems like a real "family" beach to me.

Wilmington, DE

#39 Jul 30, 2008
OIB government blew it wrote:
at least McClure has a tiny link on their website to the change. Cooke, Sloane and Williamson: nothing. I think they could have legal trouble...
I was really dismayed by this too. I only found out about the ban before our vacation because I have a Yahoo News alert set up to notify me of Ocean Isle news. When I went to our rental agent's website and made an inquiry in their forum about what the options might be for dealing with the ban, my post was deleted. I wasn't even complaining about it, just asking for information.

We did have our week on the beach complete with cheap beach umbrellas that we set up every day, and sometimes chased down the beach or had land on us suddenly when the wind shifted. I wouldn't say it was the end of the world, but it was certainly inconvenient and inadequate for real sun protection.

I did learn a few things that will interest this forum:
The local police (who were indeed patrolling and handing out tickets and returning to check on canopies and so on) told us that this ban had nothing to do with turtles. It was the result, according to them, of 2 fatal accidents on the beach in the past. Supposedly someone drowned because emergency vehicles could not thread their way through the long line of adjacent cabanas blocking a beach entrance in order to launch a rescue. And in the 2nd incident, someone died of a heart attack for the same reason--emergency vehicles couldn't get through. I am sorry to say it sounded like utter BS to me, but I didn't say anything to him. I have never seen a lineup of canopies like that that you couldn't get through with a vehicle, although I haven't spend any time in front the condo areas, so perhaps it is that crowded there. Furthermore, the solution to something like this is to enforce a clear path for emergency vehicles, is it not? They have never had any problem driving up and down the beach in past years. The ban does not even address this issue! I could easily go plant my half dozen umbrellas in the sand in front of an entrance and not be in violation of the ban.

The other thing I learned, perhaps many of you already knew: there are companies that rent canopies by the week, who will set up your canopy EVERY DAY and take it down EVERY NIGHT! They no longer operate at Ocean Isle, needless to say.

I am dumbfounded by the whole thing.

FYI anyone who is wondering about getting umbrellas, there were plenty at the beach stores. I thought we'd have to get one in advance, but not so. Probably cheaply made and flimsy, but they are there.

Chatsworth, GA

#40 Jul 30, 2008
They had 7 fatalities in a house fire probably caused by improperly discarded smoking materials. Why didn't they ban smoking in rental houses also?

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