Myrtle Beach Planning Commission talks Five Points business hours, Ocean Boulevard development, rentals

Myrtle Beach Planning Commission talks Five Points business hours, Ocean Boulevard development, rentals

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Planning Commission chose not to make a decision Tuesday on permanently limiting business hours of Five Points drinking establishments.

Instead, commissioners voted to continue the topic, saying they need more information about it and they'd like to be fair to everyone.

The commissioners were tasked with looking at requiring businesses serving alcohol in the area commonly referred to as Five Points, or the Superblock, to close between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

This area falls between Ninth Avenue North, U.S. 501, and Broadway and Main streets.

The proposed permanent restriction came up in part due to a shooting Nov. 5 at Pure Ultra Club, which injured five people. After, city council instituted an emergency ordinance limiting business hours to before 2 a.m.

A moratorium was put on new nightclub-type business licenses for the area one year ago to give the planning commission time to study Five Points history and uses, and determine the best business environment moving forward.

The proposed restriction on business hours is also a response to that because the moratorium will be up at the beginning of the year.

Several business owners from the Five Points area talked to the planning commission about how the emergency ordinance, as well as a ban on parking between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., which has been in effect since the shooting, have negatively affected business.

Overall, they said they follow laws and keep their businesses safe, so they shouldn't be punished.

"Some other businesses, they don't know how to manage it," said business owner Denis Gligan said. "I've been there 10 years. We've proven our integrity and everything."

Gligan added he's having difficulties paying bills.

Other business owners also told commissioners they do what they can to keep weapons out, but it's very difficult to control everyone. In that respect, they felt the businesses themselves can't be held entirely responsible.

They said if they have to shut down at 2 a.m., then other businesses selling alcohol in the city should as well, in order to be fair.

However, the planning commission decided to continue the discussion at its next meeting rather than make a decision Tuesday.

The planning commission did approve rezoning for an expansion of Banditos, which owner Chip Smith said he's hoping will be a destination for the north end of Ocean Boulevard.

He said the restaurant is on a valuable piece of property, with room for development and more potential. So, he did a study, which led to his deciding to expand.

The proposed mixed-use expansion will have retail stores and restaurants, which Smith said will be leased out to nationally-recognized names.

The expansion goes into a parking lot on the southern side of the restaurant and out toward the beach. It will help connect pedestrian connectivity in the area as well as be an attraction in itself.

Myrtle Beach City Council approved the first reading of the rezoning already and it will require one more reading. Then, the expansion proposal will have to go through the process for building permits and review by the Community Appearance Board.

The planning commission also agreed with city council's decision to restrict short-term rentals to 90 days rather than 30 days in residential areas.

This doesn't apply to grandfathered properties, properties in short-term rental zones or long-term, month-to-month leases.

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