Zoning change approved that could lead to a new pier in North Myrtle Beach

02/05/2013 10:57 AM

02/06/2013 6:36 AM

A proposed pier in North Myrtle Beach has gotten one more hurdle out of the way.

The North Myrtle Beach City Council on Monday evening dropped the W-1 zoning along the oceanfront, which city leaders said is redundant because the state now regulates it. The proposed pier at Sea Mountain Highway needed that zoning changed so it could provide parking for the pier.

“It was a zone that was antiquated and no longer applied,” city spokesman Pat Dowling said.

But don’t expect to see construction starting on the proposed 1,200-foot-long pier just yet. Businessman Frank Boulineau, who wants to build the pier, still must submit a formal proposal to the city and get approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals because a pier would be 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 week. Plans still must be drawn, engineering done and financing secured, he said.

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 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. Several 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.

The City Council approved the zoning change unanimously.

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.

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