Last week residents of Wrightsville Beach presented a smoking ban petition to the board of alderman which has rejected the ban twice in two years. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports some town officials say the real complication about the proposed ban is a little-known property divide called the 1939 State Line, a line dividing ownership of the beach.
This is where the town actually owns the beach: Starting south from Jack Parker Boulevard up to the Shell Island Resort at the north end. The line then runs east to the high water mark which is, well, somewhere around the water line but still kind of ambiguous. Town Manager Bob Simpson says this very line is why a smoking ban gets hazy.
“In many people’s eyes it’s very simple: Just ban smoking on the beach, which is fine. But there are some technical issues associated with property and statutes and other ordinances that make it a little more complex than just saying ‘No smoking on Wrightsville Beach.’”
Simpson says the complexity lies in figuring out which sections of the beach the town could enforce the ban. He says once petition signatures are certified, the board has 20 days to decide to adopt the ordinance as-is or leave it up to voters in either a special or general election within 6 months.