Ban on smoking in parks nixed; rules for leashes, grilling still possible in Beaufort parks

emoody@beaufortgazette.comJuly 9, 2013 

Campbell Thorp of Beaufort walks his two Mantle Great Danes, Percy and Angus, along the boardwalk at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort. The City of Beaufort is considering implementing new rules on all city run parks, including a ban on smoking and additional requirements for pets and their owners.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

  • Approved changes to off-street parking standards.

  • Approved changes sidewalks standards.

  • Approved changes to the 2013 budget to allow construction of a new fire station on Ribaut Road, a donation to the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail and costs for phase II of the Bladen Street improvement project.

  • Adopted the one-to-three year Capital Improvement Plan on a 3-to-1 vote. Councilman George O'Kelley Jr. was opposed.

  • Granted initial approval to changes regulating the display of outdoor merchandise.

  • Approved a street closure requested by the United Church of Jesus Christ for an Aug. 25 parade.

  • Granted permission for Sunset Slush, a new Italian ice vendor in Habersham, to operate a cart in the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

  • Accepted the $10,000, 2013 federal Justice Assistance Grant, which the police department will use to buy safety vests and thermal imaging equipment.

You'll be still be allowed to smoke in Beaufort's parks, but you may have to shorten up your dog's leash and leave the grill at home.

The city is considering new rules for park use and on Tuesday night dropped a plan to ban smoking there.

City Council, minus Mayor Billy Keyserling who was absent, granted initial approval to a list of new rules. A second vote is needed for the rules to go into effect. That vote is not expected to come until at least the July 23 meeting.

In June, council discussed the staff-recommended changes, which grew out of an earlier discussion about rules for Pigeon Point Park.

Since the June discussion, a ban on smoking has been removed from the list because residents might not be ready for that kind of restriction, city planner Libby Anderson said.

Most of the rules -- such as no alcohol except during special events and no parking except in designated areas -- are already on the books, Anderson said. Combining them into one parks code will make the rules better organized, she said.

A prohibition against balloons, a rule currently in place, has been downgraded to a ban on releasing balloons after Councilman Mike Sutton said kids should be allowed to have balloons at their birthday parties.

"Citizens out there are innocently breaking the law by having a typical birthday," he said.

A rule on leashes for pets remains, although, as Councilman George O'Kelley Jr. said, it enforcement might be lax.

"I doubt that, unless a dog bites somebody, there will be many complaints or enforcement of that," he said.

The new rules also include a section specific for the Spanish Moss Trail. Anderson said Beaufort County and the town of Port Royal are expected to adopt similar rules for their portions of the trail, creating a continuity.

Also added after the June council meeting is a section on penalties for violating park rules. Any violation would be a misdemeanor, and lawbreakers will be fined as determined by the court. Additional legal action could also be taken if needed.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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