NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The battle over Ingram Dunes continues.
North Myrtle Beach city leaders are now in negotiations with the landowners and the future of Ingram Dunes is still unknown.
The North Myrtle Beach Planning Commission approved preliminary plans to build 31 single-family homes in March. The Ingram Dunes landowners have made a proposal to the city, according to Scott Jackson, the realtor representing the owners.
He said during this negotiation phase, they've agreed not to move forward with development.
Jackson said if they don't reach a decision, the Ingram Dunes will be developed. Damien Triouleyre, one of the coordinators for Preserve Ingram Dunes, wants to stop any development from happening.
"These are the highest dunes left in South Carolina in terms of relic dunes not on the ocean. If they were to start bulldozing them it would be a state tragedy; really, it would be horrible," Triouleyre said.
Pat Dowling, North Myrtle Beach spokesperson, said the city is still in discussion with the landowner and the discussions will continue.
Everything being done right now by DDC Engineers – paint on the trees and a staked perimeter in preparation to cutting trees in what would be public right-of-ways - in and around the dunes is legal, Dowling said. The only thing that can't begin is bulldozing until a land disturbance permit is issued by the state and city.
Triouleyre said he is not giving up hope. He said his goal for the future of the dunes is to see them preserved as a nature sanctuary.
Scott Jackson, the realtor who is representing the landowners, said he is hopeful that a resolution will be reached soon and is working cooperatively with all parties involved.
"There's two things; we want the owners and the city to work together to cooperate to find a compromise to buy the dunes," Jackson said. "Also, we are asking the city to put in more funds on their end."
The Department of Health and Environmental Control is holding a public hearing about stormwater in the beginning of June.
Jackson said he is hopeful to resolve this very soon, as all parties involved are cooperating with one another.
Dowling agrees, but said the reality is there is a very big gap in what the landowner is asking and what they can offer.
The landowner is asking for around $4 million and the city has pledged $500,000, but Dowling said the city also has to answer to taxpayers.
"We are trying to raise bigger money. We need the city to put in more money. We've pledged to put in half a million, which is a lot from citizens," Triouleyre said.