Building inspectors find safety issues in older motels

Source: WMBF News Reporter Erika Gonzalez
Source: WMBF News Reporter Erika Gonzalez

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Safety concerns could be prompting construction in a handful of hotels in the City of Myrtle Beach, and the city has property maintenance issue cases for those safety related problems.

City of Myrtle Beach Deputy Building Official Christopher Lee heads the city's property maintenance office. They're the department in charge of inspecting buildings and handing down orders to keep property up to code.

"Our number one priority is to keep the citizens and visitors safe," said Lee.

According to Lee, one of the open cases is for the Outrigger Motel near Ocean Boulevard. Inspectors found problems with the railings and balconies on the second and third floors.  Property owners voluntarily vacated the hotel and are working closely with city to make all of the necessary repairs.

Lee says when it comes to the city's hotels, most of the safety issues are usually found in the older hotels built between the 50's and 70's. Lee says some of the more common issues they see are things like poor plumbing, lack of heating and cooling, mold, structural damage, problems with the railings and balconies, and dirty pools.

The biggest problem they come across is getting properties with damage back up to code. Sometime repair work can cost property owners tens of thousands of dollars. In some cases, the building is in such disrepair the city may choose to demolish it. The city currently has plans to demolish the Rain Tree Motel. According to Lee there is a laundry list of safety issues. No demolition has been set, but Lee points out, getting rid of the unoccupied building is a step in the right direction.

"It would harbor homelessness, prostitution and drug dealers. We're getting rid of a nuisance to the health and welfare of the city, and the neighbors are ecstatic about it," said Lee.

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