Future of vacant motel properties that some say are problematic

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Three fires at two motels in less than a month left some people who live and work near the south end of Ocean Boulevard wondering if the city was doing anything to step in and do something about it.

WMBF News received city documents that showed it has been trying to bring some of the buildings up to code by notifying property owners that multiple items needed to be cleaned up or repaired on site.  Some of the items in question included windows, doors, and yard maintenance.

"It's really a health and life safety issue," said City spokesman Mark Kruea. "You give the property owner time to act on their own if they don't then the city can step in and do it but you're dealing with property rights."

Kruea said there is nothing wrong with a property owner leaving a building empty as long as it is maintained.

"If it's secured, if the grass is trimmed, if it's not being a nuisance in the neighborhood," added Kruea. "But when it starts to be a nuisance and when it doesn't meet building codes that's when we step in."

Kruea said the property owners may eventually be asked to demolish the buildings themselves. If they do not, the city may have to step in and tear down the buildings, which was almost the case with the Golden Sands and Holiday South Motels.

"They needed to be demolished, and we've been working to get the property owner to do that," said Kruea. "Failing that the city will step in and demolish them then put a lien on the property to cover our cost of demolition."

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