Keep us, and your neighbors, in the know.
- News tips
- Community Events
- Become a blogger
- Submit a story
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) – Town leaders have decided to let residents vote on whether or not to ban smoking on the beach at a special meeting Thursday night.
The board of aldermen voted 3-2 against the proposed ban ordinance.
They voted 5-0 in favor of the referendum to put the smoking ban on the ballot in November.
More than 230 Wrightsville Beach residents signed a petition encouraging leaders to keep cigarettes off the beach. Residents only needed 211 signatures to move forward in the process.
The issue has stirred up controversy in Wrightsville Beach for more than two years, and from the looks of things, the controversy will continue at least until November.
"I'm opposed to the government doing things that don't make sense, and this does not make sense to me," said Aaron Richardet, who works with the Surfrider Foundation. "The beautiful thing is we got a huge election year coming, so the voters will turn out and the voters will be heard."
Surfrider has pushed for two years for a ban on smoking at Wrightsville Beach, but Richardet isn't surprised by the aldermen's decision against the ban.
"You can give them a shovel…they can either fill the hole they started to dig or they can dig it deeper, and so they've all been given that choice and they continue to dig in," he said.
Richardet says with the power in the hands of the people, the smoking ban will finally be approved.
Colin Eages has lived in Wrightsville Beach for 25 years, and he says he doesn't understand why the residents can't trust their town leaders.
"We do live in a democratic republic, and it's up to this board to decide what's in the best interest of the town and if the people, the voters decide they want different people representing them, we we'll put some new people in," he said.
If the ban passes, smokers who light up on the beach could be hit with a $250 fine.
Copyright 2012 WECT. All rights reserved.