TREASURE ISLAND — Sunset Beach residents complained loudly at Tuesday night's city commission meeting, demanding the city "do something" to control drinking and obnoxious behavior of beachgoers.
City police estimated that more than 3,000 people crowded onto the beach north of Caddy's restaurant Saturday to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Many brought coolers filled with beer.
Some even brought kegs and drank beer through hoses and funnels.
"We had police out there concentrating on making sure the crowds stayed orderly. It was a relatively peaceful crowd, it's just there were some people doing things that were objectionable," City Manager Reid Silverboard said today.
Residents complained that intoxicated beachgoers were rude and left piles of trash when they left.
Some said they saw people urinating on the beach and engaging in sex acts.
Other residents said they were afraid to take their families, and particularly their children, to the beach because of the vulgarity and drunken behavior of other beach visitors.
"Sunset Beach on the Fourth of July was nothing but a party of public intoxication and public vulgarity and it should be an embarrassment to the city of Treasure Island," said one resident.
"We are begging you to help us with this problem," another resident said.
Caddy's owner Tony Amico agreed with the complaining residents, even though his beachfront bar and restaurant frequently has been a target of their wrath in the past.
"I feel for you and I apologize, but I don't know what to do to help the situation," Amico said, adding that beach visitors should "show more respect" for other people and the beach environment.
After listening to the overflow crowd of angry residents, the commission said it would hold a special workshop to further discuss what might be done to better control behaviors on the beach.
No date for the workshop was set, but among the suggestions that may be considered is a complete ban on kegs on the beach, a possible restriction on the size of coolers people can bring to the beach, and the perennial problem of beachgoers parking and blocking traffic on Sunset Beach neighborhood streets.
The commission asked residents at Tuesday's meeting to get together and come up with suggestions for solutions they think would resolve the problems.
"The commission will be happy to consider any solution that recognizes that the beach is a public beach," said Silverboard.