Seaside Plaza Motel residents forced to move out after motel is deemed ‘uninhabitable’

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:17 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:18 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Five hours is how long dozens of people in Myrtle Beach had to move from the place they call home.

Myrtle Beach Code Enforcement declared the Seaside Plaza Motel “Unsafe for Human Habitation.” Residents said they found out around noon Thursday, and only had five hours to move out of their rooms.

“Got woken up by a fire marshal beating on the door,” Seaside Plaza Motel resident Adarious Wilkerson said. “Didn’t know who it was beating on the door two or three times, but it was him and he was like, ‘Yeah man, you got to go. I’m sorry to tell you, but you got to leave.’”

Wilkerson was trying to catch a little sleep before he went to his night shift. He never made it to work after finding out he needed to leave the Seaside Plaza Motel by 5 p.m. Thursday evening. He’s lived there for the past year-and-a-half.

“This is overdue, but it shouldn’t have been like this,” Wilkerson said. “I feel like we should have gotten a warning, or we should have been way ahead of the curve than this right here. We should have gotten some kind of help or something.”

A Myrtle Beach spokesperson said a fire inspection identified several life and safety violations, as well as property maintenance and structural ones. The city’s statement didn’t include what any of those violations were, specifically.

They were enough to deem the property “uninhabitable.” That means no one could stay another night until the problems were fixed.

“There’s got to be a law, kicking a 70-year-old man out on the street in five hours,” fellow motel resident Jamie Gaspar said.

The statement also said the city doesn’t have a business license for the property. The property manager claims the money was paid for the license, and it was just pending an inspection.

The property manager said he plans to hire contractors to fix the problems the city identified and hopes to allow people back in as soon as possible.

However, there’s no definite timeline for their return, so Gaspar and his fellow tenants were left packing in a rush, with no idea what the future holds.

“You get settled, then all of a sudden, you’re in a volcano,” Gaspar said.

The property manager said he “made good” on all resident accounts, whether that be by refunding them or absolving any debts they owed.

A city spokesperson said they’ve contacted nearby property owners to provide short-term housing for some people.

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