New zoning code goes into effect in Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Zoning changes to redevelop Myrtle Beach went into effect Monday, September 9. City leaders are trying to make Myrtle Beach more developer friendly and help fix some of the dilapidated spaces downtown.

The new zoning code has been in the works for ten years. The city has added two mixed-use zones. On the prior zoning code, there were no mixed-use zones. Mixed-use means it's not just going to be residential or commercial, it can be both.

This means you may see apartments on top of a restaurant, or next to one.

Part of the main goal is to make the city a more "walkable" community so visitors and people who live there don't have to get in a car and drive.

The city is also trying to attract developers. The new zoning code makes it much easier for property owners to redevelop structures in disrepair, or for developers to build new ones.

"You'll be able to build a bigger footprint of your building on the site that you have," says Kelly Mezzapelle, a Planner with the City of Myrtle Beach Planning Department. "Because we're expecting people to walk around the area we are reducing the parking requirements, in some cases cutting them in half. So, if you don't have to be taking up room on your lot with paring, you can have a bigger building."

There will be two different mixed-use areas. One is identified by a light blue on the zone map, it is mainly in hotel districts. Structures will be allowed to be as tall as 240 feet without the developer having to jump through hoops to get permission for the structure.

The medium blue on the new zoning code map indicates residential areas. The height will depend on the width of the road. The difference between the two mixed-use areas is so that people can still see over buildings in the residential areas while achieving the goal the city wants with "walkability" and mixed0use.

Current properties are grand fathered in so they won't need to make changes, but in the future, any new work will come with stipulations. Sidewalks will have to be put in the front of new buildings, and parking will be required to go in the back.

"It's what the people of the community have said they want," Mezzapelle says. "We've got a lot of retirees moving here from other areas of the country, and they don't want to have to get in their car and drive."

The city hopes the changes will kick-start revitalization efforts, especially in certain areas- namely between the old Pavilion park and Family Kingdom.

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