Renewed interest in Myrtle Beach City Council making a decision regarding large nightclubs downtown has brought the issue back to the Downtown Redevelopment Corp. after a two-and-a-half-year hold on new businesses.
City Manager John Pedersen – who also serves as DRC treasurer – on Wednesday asked board members to revisit the recommendation it made two years ago allowing larger clubs to operate downtown. The recommendation was made jointly with the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission.
“It is important because, obviously, as redevelopment is occurring and some new exciting opportunities [come up], I hope that council sees that there could be some very tasteful things done in a very positive way,” DRC Chairman Chuck Martino said.
Pedersen said City Council wants to make a clear decision about how to regulate large bars and nightclubs in the DRC area. City Council placed a moratorium on granting business licenses to large bars – those with an occupancy of more than 150 people – in January 2013.
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Representatives from DRC and the Planning Commission were asked to study the issue, and that summer jointly recommended they be allowed downtown with conditions. The groups recommended that large bars or nightclubs submit a written safety plan and participate in a voluntary violence reduction program before being allowed to operate.
It is important because, obviously, as redevelopment is occurring and some new exciting opportunities [come up], I hope that council sees that there could be some very tasteful things done in a very positive way.”
DRC Chairman Chuck Martino
City Council tabled the issue during a July 2013 meeting. It has not been discussed since.
Owners of at least one business had to change their original plan to open a nightclub on Oak Street in the Super Block area of downtown. When they learned of the moratorium, the owners of Ibiza Club and Lounge shifted plans to operate a hookah bar instead where they will serve beer and wine.
DRC members at the Wednesday board meeting were given the minutes from the 2013 joint meeting with the planning commission for review and Martino asked them to be prepared to discuss the topic at the September meeting. All board members will receive the materials for review before the next meeting.
Pedersen said the issue then will go to the planning commission for their input before going back to City Council.
“The issue recently came up and City Council would like to resolve the moratorium,” he said.