MYRTLE BEACH — Residents at The Market Common have some concerns about the Myrtle Beach City Council’s recent approval of an ordinance that allows developers to build 28 single family homes instead of the planned 73 townhouses.
Owners, renters and small-business owners said they worried what it would mean to have fewer people living in the neighborhood than originally planned. Some business owners said fewer residents would mean fewer potential customers.
Ed Carey, who owns a townhouse at The Market Common, said he’s worried about the potential tax burden that could fall on the residents who already live there.
“My concern is that what they’re basing the value of 70 townhouses versus the value of the single family homes to pay off the bond,” Carey said. “I don’t care what the buildings are. What is the impact to the bond payments if you’re decreasing the number of units?”
The city purchased bonds in 2006 to pay for infrastructure at The Market Common and is paying them back through tax increment financing – using a portion of the property taxes collected from owners at the development.
City Budget Director Michael Shelton said he thinks the move to develop single family homes is better for the bottom line for both the developers and the residents.
“The value of being able to go ahead and develop the property and get more value on the books is going to lessen the chance that [residents undergo] a special assessment,” Shelton said.
Shelton recommended the council approve the change at an Aug. 14 meeting.
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” he said at the meeting.
With the lots sitting empty, it’s possible that The Market Common would not generate enough money in property taxes to pay on the bond debt, Shelton said. If that happens, it could be necessary for properties to undergo a special assessment, and that could result in an owner paying higher taxes.
Buyers these days want single-family houses, not townhouses, said David Stradinger, co-owner of Dock Street Communities, which is developing the residences at The Market Common.
Tom Maeser, market analyst for the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, said while about two-thirds of properties purchased in Myrtle Beach are used as vacation rentals, it’s the other third of owners that are desired at The Market Common.
“The Market Common is trying to get a permanent resident,” Maeser said. “Based on demand you’ve got to take your product where the market is. … Them changing the plan is probably positive.”
Stradinger said Dock Street is trying to be strategic when deciding how to continue to develop in a struggling market.
“What we had to do is develop a plan that sort of nibble around the edges and develop a product that sells,” Stradinger said at the council meeting.
David Wilkes, vice president of operations at Dock Street, said it plans to reserve all of the property closer to the town center to build townhouses and condos in the future.
“Also, our product is denser than a typical single family home subdivision,” he said, adding that it typically builds six houses per acre.
The City Council also approved an ordinance in February that allowed for 17 single family homes to be built in the place of proposed 51 townhouses nearby on the former Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday property.
Randall Ulrikson, who’s rented an apartment and owned The Common Spot coffee house in The Market Common since March 2010, said he welcomes any new residents.
“Every one of those single family homeowners are my customers and they’re full time residents. They’re weekly – daily customers. I think it’s great,” he said.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722.