MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The burgeoning area around The Market Common is growing by leaps and bounds.
However, that doesn't mean there aren't concerns with the proposed 548 new homes that would accompany Arbor Glen Village and be built in the triangular area between Emory Road and Fred Nash Boulevard.
Original plans in June presented to Myrtle Beach's planning commission included almost 600 homes in the neighborhood. The planning commission asked the design team to go back to the drawing board, which they did. In August, new plans had fewer homes and an all new layout to the neighborhood. Plans included walking trails, more green space, lakes and, most importantly, more entrances in and out.
With Shetland Lane now closed to drivers except for those making right turns on and off of the U.S. 17 Bypass, the only one way in and out of the area is Fred Nash Boulevard, and motorists have to take it all the way down to Farrow Parkway.
People who work for the city of Myrtle Beach and residents who live and work near Fred Nash Boulevard are concerned that the addition of the 548-home neighborhood would make traffic an unbearable nightmare.
"Just a lot of traffic for a little road. A lot of traffic," said Debbie Sklener, with Joe's Airport Diner. "I'm all for growth and I'm certainly for fixing neighborhoods that might be run down, or improving the whole area, [but] where are the people going to drive? What kind of mess are you creating?"
"Before they put all those homes back there, yeah, they need to do something," Joe Miller, owner of Joe's Airport Diner said. "Because there's enough traffic down here already. To move to put 500 houses or whatever they're talking about doing without more entrances or exits would be crazy. Just crazy."
City planners are pushing one specific idea that would help: where Howard Avenue stops, the road actually continues, it's just closed. When it reaches Airpark Drive, there are cement blocks, and the road stops to traffic. But it actually is finished to Emory Road. Planners are pushing to work with Horry County to re-pave, and give the road a face-lift so that it can be reopened. That way, they said, drivers would have another way in and out.
"I think it's a great idea if they're going to put more roads for people who live back here to get in and out," Millers aid. "The best thing they could do is open Fred Nash all the way at the other end for all the people going southbound that want to come in this neighborhood. Because right now they have to go all the way to 707 and turn around."
Where Fred Nash Boulevard ends, just past Joe's Airport Diner, it turns into what used to be Old Socastee Highway.
Fixing up the road and finishing it to connect Fred Nash Boulevard to Harrelson Boulevard is currently on the RIDE III priority list.
Sklener said that's a must if the city is entertaining the idea of allowing the new neighborhood.
"I'm all for beautiful homes, I'm all for growth, but let's keep everyone safe at the same time," she said. "You already screwed up our intersection. Let's think about it a little bit."
The planning commission will eventually hold a public meeting with the developer and will make a decision on whether or not to recommend the zoning change to allow the neighborhood. The meetings so far with the developer have just been reviews. If a recommendation is given, the zoning change would have to pass two readings from Myrtle Beach City Council.
City council could limit the number of homes built in Arbor Glenn Village until the Fred Nash Blvd. extension is complete. A possible option would be to allow the builder to only build a certain number of homes before that happens. WMBF News will keep you posted.