North Myrtle Beach city leaders discuss plans for overcrowd boat landing

Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 6:09 PM EST
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Concerns of overcrowding at the Cherry Grove boat landing have North Myrtle Beach city leaders taking action when it comes to kayakers.

Officials held a workshop Wednesday afternoon to discuss plans, which include a $400,000 renovation.

Part of the plan is to create two separate landings for recreational kayakers and one for commercial kayaking companies who thrive off larger group tours.

“The biggest issue we have is congestion,” said John Bullard, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of North Myrtle Beach.

To help with parking, the city is looking to add another lot to doubling the current space which would become a paid lot for non-residents, charging $2.00 an hour.

The biggest changes would affect those who kayak in the area, specifically commercial kayaking companies giving larger group tours.

The city is looking to limit the number of commercial tour companies to six and would charge a 7% gross revenue fee from tours and equipment rentals operating out of the 53rd Avenue North boat ramp.

However, Hatley felt 7% wasn’t enough considering how much the city is spending to renovate the area.

“We’re going to be paving, you’re going to have to monitor the area, we’ll be adding signage, so I think 7% is too low I would like to see that around 10% gross,” she said.

Along with the fee, kayaking companies will also be limited to two vehicles with a trailer and a maximum of 24 kayaks.

Kokopelli Surf Camp, owned by Wyatt Todd, is one of those kayaking companies that operate out of the area felt some of these recommendations were too restrictive.

“If you wanna take the 10% that’s fine, but we should be able to make money at the boat ramp - but we are not unlike people working on the beach, we also don’t have sole ownership of the ramp we’re sharing it with five other company,” he said.

Several other kayaking companies express concern that 10% might be too high and would like the city to be open to future discussions.

None of the recommendations are set in stone at this time, but both Hatley and council members were pleased with what they believe is a great starting point.

“We may need to tweak a few of these things down the road but this is a great beginning,” said Hatley.

This new paid lot would use the new license plate readers during the paid parking season.

For official approval of the recommended plans, they will need to go before city council for an official vote at a later date.

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