MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach Planning Commission opted to continue discussions on a proposal to implement an entertainment overlay district along Ocean Boulevard.
The parameters for the proposal are to make the area from 16th Avenue North to Sixth Avenue South, and from the ocean to the properties abutting Kings Highway, more family-friendly and prohibit anything promoting crudity, drugs or weapons.
City planning director Carol Coleman said Tuesday the planning commission was faced with three decisions - recommend approval, recommend disapproval, or continue the discussion.
Coleman said the idea was first brought to the planning commission last year, and since then various groups have presented them with information about the effects an overlay district would have on the area.
Some business owners were at the meeting and said if an entertainment overlay district is implemented, they're concerned about future regulations.
"Are they later going to say, 'You can't sell t-shirts, or you can't sell beach wear stuff?'" said Michelle Kerscher, owner of The Gay Dolphin Gift Shop. "You know, it kind of limits what they can do in the future."
Buzz Plyler, another of the gift shop's owners, also weighed in.
"We don't think it makes sense to have a special area of the beach be family-friendly," he said, "We think the beach as a whole should be family-friendly."
Planning commission members did discuss that concern at Tuesday's meeting and Coleman said it is an issue that has been brought up before.
"Are we concentrating on one area when we should be looking at a wide area?" Coleman said. "Are we putting too much emphasis on Ocean Boulevard?"
Coleman said the planning commission is looking to be fair.
"They don't disagree with some of the issues that we got in the city when we have so many tourists there," she said.
However, planning commission members said they've seen improvements in the area over the course of the last few months.
"Since we had the shooting last summer, the police have stepped up their patrols; we've added code enforcement officers," Coleman said. "The police have changed the way they patrol the area. Things have improved."
According to Coleman, businesses have also been cooperating, which has added to the improvements the city has seen.
The planning commission is a recommending body, meaning once a recommendation is made to approve or disapprove an agenda item, city council will have a final say.
Plans for a development near 82nd Parkway and Nigels Drive were also discussed. Coleman said part of the public benefit of this planned unit development is the developer is planning on having storm water improvements on the border of this property that would benefit the surrounding properties.
The developer is basing these plans off another development in that area, according to Coleman.
At the meeting, a representative from Antigua's homeowners association, which is a development near the proposed one, said the developer has met with the residents and addressed any concerns they may have.
Local business owners said they are looking forward to new developments coming to the area.
"If they're right there on 82nd, they have everything they need right here in this area," said Shawn Rogers, a nearby business owner, "Restaurants, specialty stores, physical therapy, Publix, anything they need is right here in this area and plus we're all about all the developments going on in this area."