Myrtle Beach Planning Commission rejects gas station zoning request, city council to make final decision

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 6:54 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Building gas stations near neighborhoods has become a controversial topic in the City of Myrtle Beach.

Tuesday night, the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission rejected a zoning request that would have put some distance between homes and future gas stations.

Back on Jan. 4, resident Geoffrey Kay told the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission that gas stations pose certain dangers to nearby residential dwellings.

“Including noise, pollutants, reduced property value and commercial activity,” he told the board on that day.

Kay said that’s why he and several of his neighbors are proposing a change to the city’s code of ordinances, so gas stations can be restricted within 500 feet of any neighborhood.

Those residents are part of the Myrtle Beach Healthy Neighborhoods Coalition, which has set up a petition urging the city council to put more distance between fuel stations and residential areas. The site references risks residents say are associated with benzene that could be released from gasoline storage tank vents and the pump.

As written, the zoning code amendments would restrict gas stations to within 500 feet of any residential dwelling unit, which some families feel would make the environment safer.

For weeks, the planning commission has been reviewing information about the safety of gas stations located near homes before making a final recommendation for the Myrtle Beach council.

Tuesday afternoon, the commission finally took a vote, but not before having a lengthy discussion about how the changes could impact gas stations altogether.

Several commission members made a point to say their vote against the zoning request had more to do with the language of how the code would be worded and its enforcement.

Others questioned if this type of requirement is needed in the City of Myrtle Beach and whether the proposed gas station changes would apply or impact businesses located in the planned unit development (PUD).

One man who spoke during the meeting identified himself as a retiree in Myrtle Beach, who in years past, served as a chief inspector for a unit with the Maryland State Police.

He said based on his experience, he’s deeply concerned about more gas stations being built in the city limits, particularly if they’re close to residential homes.

He says it’s important to understand how an emergency involving fuel stations could impact nearby neighborhoods.

The planning commission intends to have a member present when Myrtle Beach City Council does take up the gas station proposal. That date has not yet been determined.

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