NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) North Myrtle Beach Residents living near the Tidewater Community are worried about a lot near their homes becoming a dump site.
City Council recently voted to purchase a 24.5 acre plot of land in between Tidewater Drive and the Macedonia A.M.E Church on Little River Neck Road, with the original intention of using it as a deposit site for spoilage removed from the Cherry Grove Marsh.
North Myrtle Beach City Spokesman Pat Dowling said the dredging project in Cherry Grove is long overdue, as the canals in several areas are steadily filling with silt, threatening to halt water related recreational activities.
But Councilman Bob Cavanaugh said he worries about the negative effect dropping spoilage nearby residential areas could have on people living nearby or the environment.
"It may work out okay," Cavanaugh said. "But it may also affect a lot of the property values and quality of life of some of the residents. It all depends on the process."
City Council created an ordinance designed, if passed, to allow the city to purchase the 24.5 acre plot of land and use it as a dump site.
When the ordinance came to vote, Cavanaugh suggested an amendment allowing North Myrtle Beach to purchase the land, while at the same time removing language regarding how it would be used.
Cavanaugh said he hopes the amendment will give people living nearby a chance to voice their concerns about the idea of a dump site near their homes.
Mildred Watson, who acts as pastor for the Macedonia A.M.E Church on Little River Neck Road directly adjacent to the city-purchased plot of land in question, said she worries about the effect a dump site could have on the environment and neighbors.
"The first thing we need to ask the [city] council is about the issue as far as the health concerns of the community," Watson stressed. "I'm certainly hoping the people in the Little River Neck area will stand up to the legislators of the area and vote against this proposal."
Tidewater Plantation resident Marylou Convery said she would not object to the plot becoming a dump site, as long as it was not harmful to the area.
"It's okay, as long as it's not environmentally hazardous to us," Convery explained. "But we don't want a smell in our neighborhood."
The city-purchased plot of land is adjacent to another spoilage basin used for a similar purpose.
Cavanaugh said the Cherry Grove Marsh dredging project is currently being held up by a number of logistical, legal and environmental road blocks, and could be years away.
As of now, there is no resolution addressing a use for the 24.5 acre plot of land, but Dowling said the issue will be addressed at future city council meetings.