Surfside Beach leaders fire most of the town’s planning commission

Surfside Beach leaders fire most of the town’s planning commission

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Surfside Town Council fired six out of seven members of the Surfside Beach Planning Commission for “adversely affecting the public.”

After a lengthy executive session during Tuesday night’s meeting, the Surfside Beach Town Council voted on a motion to fire the members.

It stemmed from a disagreement between the planning commission and the town council regarding the entertainment district. That district is on Ocean Boulevard and includes the Surfside Beach Pier. The goal behind it is to add restaurants to increase foot traffic.

Back in October, the planning commission and a town resident filed a complaint against the town council.

The complaint documents said the town council exempted developments in the new entertainment district from the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System in violation of local, state and federal law.

The lawsuit was dismissed in February.

WMBF News was there as Surfside Beach Town council member Randle Stevens made the motion.

“I make a motion that we declare vacancies on the planning commission for the seats held by Carrie Johnson, Janet Gambino, Al Lauer, Nicole Mastrosante, Laurence McKeen, Mary Beth Mabry for calls of adversely affecting the public interest and follow that we direct the town administrator to have the positions advertised,” Stevens said.

The vote following the motion was not unanimous at four to three.

Mayor Bob Childs, Bruce Dietrich, Debbie Scoles and Stevens voted in favor of the motion. Mark Johnson, David Pellegrino and Ron Ott voted against it.

People who showed up to the meeting were not happy after the vote.

“Mr. Mayor, will you be happy when you ruin the town completely?” said one upset resident.

“Mr. Mayor, there’s those of us who feel that the planning and zoning committee did not do harm to the general public, that the general public was a hundred thousand percent supportive of what the planning and zoning board did,” another resident said.

Childs did not answer any of the residents’ questions or comments. He walked out of the room.

The one planning commission member remaining is Robert Hellyer.

The town clerk said no planning commission meetings can be held until the positions are filled.

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