County passes ordinance prohibiting fireworks in one neighborhood

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – During the summer, residents and visitors might hear plenty of fireworks on the beaches in unincorporated areas of Horry County, sometimes even late at night or into the morning.

One couple has petitioned to ban fireworks in a pocket of the beach near Garden City for months, and it paid off on Monday.

Now, there’s a section of the beach in Garden City where it is illegal to set off fireworks.

“We always dreamed of living on the beach and then we got there and then it was just like I was in tears half the time,” said Ashley Ellerbeck, one of the petitioners.

Ellerbeck and her husband, Eric Ciappio, moved to the Garden City area last year. They always wanted to live at the beach, but say those dreams were crushed when they heard fireworks outside their condo three to four times a night.

“I understand a lot of people are on vacation and we don’t want to tell people not to have fun, but it would send our dogs into a panic,” Ellerbeck said. “We had to put them on medication. Also, just a disruption to our sleep too was really significant.”

“With the dog too, it’s a bit of foreshadowing,” Ciappio said. “We recently got married and we’re hoping to start a family and with a newborn in the house, it’s not a good situation.”

A lack of sleep wasn’t the only issue.

“They were actually hitting our building with the fireworks as well and actually doing a bit of damage to the decks out front,” Ellerbeck said.

Fireworks are legal in Horry County, but in 2005, county council passed an ordinance that would allow for firework-prohibited zones.

Since their petition was approved, fireworks are illegal in front of the couple’s property in the 500 block of North Waccamaw Drive.

“We could sleep peacefully at night,” Ellerbeck said. “The fact that they made it such an easy process, anyone who’s having these issues can go ahead and appeal.”

Horry County officials said the fireworks ban for that section of the beach will go into effect immediately.

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