Letters to the Editor

Close public landings to business operations

As a 30-year Hilton Head Island resident who pays Beaufort County taxes and has worked in various island marinas, it appalls me that the island's public landings are being used as business locations.

I've known and made many friends over the years who have worked in various marina water sports activities, such as fishing and nature tours, and I know how badly they are affected by these so-called freelancers. But is anyone aware how these freelancers affect other marina contractors and businesses?

Restaurants, gift and clothing stores, general stores, etc. -- and their employees -- all suffer because of the number of visitors who decide to visit a discounted water activity at a public landing rather than spend a day at one of the local marinas after partaking in an activity. How many potential customers that small businesses and their employees count on are missed because town and county officials allow these operations to continue at public landings?

As for this outdated and antiquated ordinance that allows commercial activity: When was the last time you heard of someone "paying for hire" hundreds of dollars to go dig for oysters in the marsh mud or head shrimp on a trawler? These public docks and landings are for public use, not to conduct business.

Mari Magruder

Hilton Head Island