Beaufort News

Sands Beach vending decision could face another delay

  • Some Port Royal Town Council members said they're still not comfortable with a proposal to allow food, drink, flower and other merchandise vending at the Sands Beach even after changes were made to address concerns raised last month.
  • Council tabled a final vote on the proposal in December, saying it wanted to better define how many vendors should be permitted in the area at one time and where exactly they can set up portable carts along the beach in Port Royal's historic village.

    Staff prepared an amended proposal that would limit the number of vendors to one and require that vendor to locate in a designated spot adjacent to a new parking area with access to electricity and water.

    A yearlong permit to operate would be given on a first come-first served basis with the option to renew without opening the spot back up to other vendors, Town Manager Van Willis said.

    "That may seem unfair initially, but we can work it out if issues arise," Willis said.

    A final vote is scheduled for next week, but at least three members said they want to delay that decision to allow more discussion.

    Councilman Vernon DeLoach said he'd rather see the town build a permanent vending venue with public restrooms that a private business could rent rather than allowing someone to bring in his or her own cart.

    "I want something built by the town and controlled by the town," DeLoach said.

    Council members Mary Beth Heyward and Henry Robinson agreed the area needs a permanent restroom for convenience and sanitation purposes.

    Heyward also expressed concerns about local competition.

    "I think we need something like that downtown, but I don't want to hurt our local businesses," Heyward said.

    The issue first arose last year when an individual inquired about opening a hot dog stand at the Sands Beach.

    As proposed, vendors would have to get a business license from the town before opening. Those approved could operate between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. and would not be allowed to leave their cart overnight at the Sands or on streets or sidewalks.

    Vendors could sell hot dogs, sausages, bagels, pastries, candy, prepackaged sandwiches, fresh fruit, fruit cups, chips, biscuits, popcorn, nuts, pretzels, ice products, ice cream, milk products, frozen yogurt, hot and cold beverages not containing alcohol, flowers and items related to permitted merchandise.