‘This issue is quite emotional for a number of us’: Grand Dunes residents fight plan to speed up development approval process in Myrtle Beach

Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 7:18 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Development continues to explode in Myrtle Beach, and it may soon move even faster.

The Myrtle Beach city council debated a proposal Tuesday to speed up the timeline for getting new developments approved by the community appearance board.

“This issue is quite emotional for a lot of us in the community,” said Grand Dunes Resident Chuck Martino during the council meeting.

Martino and a room full of Grand Dunes residents took their fight against new cottages coming to the intersection of Highway 17 and 71st Avenue North to the Myrtle Beach city council.

But, their fight started three months ago, when the project went before the Myrtle Beach community appearance board.

It hit the board’s agenda on January 6, and two weeks later, it was approved.

“You’ve heard how the law works,” said Martino. “I’m here to let you know that the law was not used in the situation that has brought so many residents here today.”

Martino and his neighbors contend the plans were submitted 10 calendar days before they went before the board.

The law requires 10 business days, so Martino feels they didn’t have ample time to review the plans and make their opinions known.

It’s a law the city planning department would like to see changed, to streamline the approval process for new development in Myrtle Beach.

“We are meeting state law, more than meeting state law in terms of notification about what agendas are available, what’s on those agendas, what is to be considered by a public body and I think we lead the state in terms of that sort of transparency,” said Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Mark Kruea.

The city planning director says the new schedule would get a typical project through approval in about a month and a half, rather than three months or so it takes right now depending on weekends and holidays.

“This is a submittal schedule based on a calendar that best aligns with the established CAB schedule,” said Planning Director Kenneth May. “That’s all we are asking for here today.”

Much to Martino’s dismay, the majority of the city council agreed with the idea in a 5-2 vote.

“200 emails were sent to the planning commission from members of the community who are opposed to this, not because they feel pride in what is occurring,” said Martino. “Thank you.”

The planning commission also recommended the city council establish a panel of planning commissioners, Community Appearance Board members and folks living in Myrtle Beach to work on better communication with the public on what’s going on at these meetings.

This will have one final vote for approval in two weeks.

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