Zoning approved in North Myrtle Beach that would allow for new pier

dbryant@thesunnews.comMarch 19, 2013 

New zoning is in place along the oceanfront in North Myrtle Beach that could make way for a new public pier.

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved extending zoning districts toward the beach, which would allow for parking if businessman Frank Boulineau moves forward on plans to build a pier at Sea Mountain Highway. The move came after the council last month dropped the W-1 zoning along the oceanfront.

“The vote was not a vote for the pier,” city spokesman Pat Dowling said. “But at least he has that piece of the puzzle.”

The 1,200-foot-long pier still has several layers to go through before construction could begin.

Boulineau must submit a formal proposal to the city and get approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals because a pier is considered a “special exception” within the new zone.

If that board signs off on it, it then would go to the city’s Technical Review Committee, a group of staff members that will review it to ensure the project meets city zoning and building code requirements. The final step would be getting a building permit from the city.

If it gets all the approvals, the earliest the pier would open would be 2015, Boulineau said last month. Plans still must be drawn, engineering done and financing secured, he said then. Boulineau could not be immediately reached Tuesday.

The project would include supporting amenities such as a restaurant, tackle shop and grill serving hamburgers and other quick eats. The project already has key approvals from the S.C. Department of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Boulineau has said the pier could help the city’s economy by giving visitors a reason to stay in the city.

But some property owners near Sea Mountain Highway aren’t in favor of the pier being built. A couple of condominium owners in Spring Towers attended Monday’s meeting, expressing concerns about the pier taking away from the beach, creating more traffic and contributing to more debris.

If the pier is built, it would be the second public pier in North Myrtle Beach; there’s already Cherry Grove Pier.

It also would be the first new additional pier along the Grand Strand since Apache Pier debuted in 1993. New public piers aren’t often proposed along the Grand Strand, mainly because of the cost of building one and the risk of damage from hurricanes, officials have said.

The Grand Strand has eight public piers dotting the coastline from Cherry Grove to Garden City Beach.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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