NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of North Myrtle Beach has seen an increase in construction, development and growth. Now, hundreds of new homes could be going in to add to the already flourishing north strand.
The proposal calls to expand Grande Dunes into the City of North Myrtle Beach. The group that has taken over Grande Dunes, LStar, wants to purchase land to build more than 700 new homes.
The land of interest is bordering Highway 22, the Carolina Bays Parkway and Watertower Road, so these homes will be close neighbors with the Barefoot Resort Area.
It's part of what is known as the Parkway Planned Development District. This area is made up of six separately owned parcels of land totaling more than 1,300 acres.
LStar is interested in purchasing the Waterway Hills Tract, the golf course on the Waterway that is accessed by a gondola ride from Highway 17, and the Chestnut Tract. The two areas total to 243 acres.
“Some of us have been waiting 6 years, 7 years to see some progress,” said Former President of Barefoot Resort HOA, Dave Jenkins. “But that's the way it goes when land develops, particularly during recession times, and now it looks like real estate in the area is giving them the confidence that they'll be able to sell condos and houses."
The proposal includes single family and attached family homes, as well as waterfront condos.
Under the current city plans, LStar would have the right to build about 2,500 homes; however, they're looking to build about 740 high-end units.
“If we can successfully work through these and other PDD requirements, the City would be pleased to see homes the caliber of those in Grande Dunes within its corporate limits,” said City Spokesperson Pat Dowling.
Dowling said residential properties rarely pay for themselves when it comes to the city's cost of providing services. Since LStar is proposing less homes, at a high price range, this might work out to be a break-even cost situation for the city, which he said is always welcome.
WMBF News spoke to several people who are concerned about this proposal.
Jenkins said the size of the development so close to where you live, and increased traffic are some of the major issues brought up by his neighbors.
He expressed, if new homes are built, more infrastructure will have to follow.
The initial plan includes eventually expanding Watertower Road, to four lanes. That's the back entrance to Barefoot, eventually connecting the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex with Highway 31.
Some residents feel that's not enough to support the volume of people we would see.
Dowling said in order to accomplish what LStar is proposing, changes may have to be made to the original plan.
“The developer does want to be able to move what is currently a planned public road running in between the two tracts they want to buy to the perimeter of the tracts, so that they can gate their development and have private roads only,” Dowling said.
If this happens, a traffic study would take place to determine the impact of traffic flow throughout the entire area.
“I think it will be good if it's done right and that involves the planning process to work and that requires the input of people,” Jenkins said.
Future plans include a commercial element, like stores and restaurants, but there has not been any movement on that front.
Dowling said judging from City Council's reaction during the workshop, none of those aspects appear to be major obstacles. It's just a matter of determining who pays for what and then getting them done. This is the first time LStar has met with the city about its development plans. A second meeting hasn't been set yet.