HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Some Horry County residents are concerned about the possible construction of a large-scale concert venue in their neighborhood.
The county held a town hall at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Thursday night for residents who live along Highway 905 and Highway 22, where the proposed Myrtle Beach Grand Amphitheater is expected to be built.
The location would be on McKinley Shortcut Road, which is near residential communities.
During the event, numerous people spoke out against bringing the venue to a rural area. Some families feel the facility doesn’t fit in the community.
Aaron Asbury lives within a few miles of the proposed site for the Myrtle Beach Grand Amphitheater. He’s not happy about the a possible entertainment destination near his home.
During the town hall, representatives with the project said the venue could attract national acts like Taylor Swift and Drake because it will host 21,000 people. But for some residents like Asbury, what came into their minds was one word: traffic.
“If I want to see a concert, I’ll travel somewhere else. I don’t want it in my backyard,” he said. “Adding 21,000 people to an event is going to increase the amount of traffic.”
Some neighbors agree.
“I think they should all stay away from us,” said Valerie Rezendes, Polo Farms resident. “I think this neighborhood is fine the way it is. We don’t need to have the traffic, we don’t need to have the fighting. The cops are going to be arresting people. I just don’t want to see any of that.”
Teresa Clardy also lives near McKinley Shortcut Road. She’s not in favor of any project that brings additional noise to the community.
“I think it’s a bad idea,” Clardy said. “Lots of people move out here for peace and quiet, this is going to be unreal. I been here for sixty four years and I’d like to stay here in peace as long as I live.”
But others neighbors feel a bit different, saying they’re okay with a major concert venue in their community.
During the town hall, one resident said: “I’m for this, this area needs to grow.”
Another resident said he lives near the church and shared his support for county leaders trying to make the best decision they can for the community. He also said people need to weigh all possible options about who can move into the proposed venue space, stating he heard ‘talk’ about a mine company wanting the land.
Most of the property is zoned neighborhood commercial, which already allows for businesses like bars and shops. If the rezoning were approved, it would allow for other businesses such as an amusement park. County leaders clarified to residents that if a mining company has a state Department of Health permit, they’re able to operate in numerous areas of the county. That means another mine location could be in the proposed spot for the amphitheater.
“We want to do this so we don’t have to chance on the mine,” said councilman Danny Hardee, representing District 10, where the proposed property is located.
The soon-to-be landowner PDN Entertainment still needs to get rezoning approved for the project.
Rich Montgomery, PDN’s representative and an associate with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Myrtle Beach, attended the town hall. He said he wanted to be there to address residents concerns about the project.
“I think it’s going to take more conversations to make people feel more comfortable,” said Montgomery. “Not everybody’s going to feel comfortable. The huge thing is traffic and we understand. We’re going to do everything Horry County asks us to do. We’re going to do everything the DOT [asks]. We’re going to do everything we can, above and beyond to make the traffic pattern easy and less congested as possible.”
Marvin Heyd, broker-in-charge and part owner at Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate in Myrtle Beach, also attended the town hall.
“There’s opposition,” Heyd said. “I don’t know if we need to have another meeting for the homeowners to be comfortable. Some [may] not want a change here but a change is coming. We would like to embrace an amphitheater here and hopefully there will be a positive impact on the community.”
Overall, residents say they felt good putting their concerns out in the open. Some are just a bit uncertain as to what the future may hold with the venue project.
“I think a lot of us were heard,” Asbury said. “Whether or not they’ll take that to heart will be something to be seen at the next county meetings. Rest assured, we’ll all be there at the readings to try and shut this down.”
The future of this project is now in the county’s hands. County leaders said three readings will be required in order for the rezoning for this amphitheater to be approved. While the final approval could come as soon as May, leaders said the project may not be finished until April 2023.
The county’s planning commission previously recommended to leaders not to approve the rezoning.
Town hall leaders provided documents breaking down frequently asked questions about the venue project:
What is the amphitheater?
- A 21,000-seat capacity, partially covered, entertainment venue
- Large enough to host world leading artists
What are the benefits of the amphitheater?
- Creating approximately 25 full-time positions
- Creating approximately 425 part-time positions
- Increased tax revenue for the county and the state
- Increased tourism positively impacting local hotels, restaurants and other businesses
What are the typical hours of operation?
- Typically events will be held on Friday and Saturday nights
- Doors will open approximately two hours before the start of the event
- Events typically begin at 7 p.m. and will end typically between 10-11 p.m.
How will traffic and road congestion be impacted?
- Coordination of road improvements will take place between PDN Entertainment Inc. and Horry County Engineering and S.C. Department of Transportation.
- We anticipate widening McKinley Shortcut to three lands, possibly adding an entrance, creating turn lanes and etc.
- Traffic for events will be directed by Amphitheater employees. We anticipate having assistance from Horry County police.
What will we do to mitigate noise from events at the Amphitheater?
- Sound reflections created by the amphitheater design
- Reflecting sound panels
- Elevated semi circular seating (under canopy seating and lawn seating)
- Sound ‘obstacles’ such as tress, walls, etc