Changes to parking requirements in the amusement zoning district near the Surfside Beach Pier received initial approval Tuesday night and will be discussed further during a workshop next week.
The zoning district includes the restaurants and retail spaces on Ocean Boulevard in the center of town.
Planning Director Sabrina Morris said the current requirements would stifle future development or rebuilding because, if a building is rebuilt or takes renovations valued at least 50 percent of its overall value, there would not be enough space for the parking required under the ordinance..
Morris said that under the town’s current ordinance parking requirements would result in a sea of pavement that would prevent any expansions, would be unattractive and would not promote clear water runoff because of limited space for vegetation.
She also said that with the district so close to the ocean, the current parking requirements would be particularly troubling if buildings were damaged during a hurricane.
“If something happened the businesses could not be rebuilt based on the [current] ordinance,” she said.
Businesses that either rebuilt or renovated up to 50 percent of the value of the building would have to be elevated from street level to be meet new flood requirements. Parking in the event of raising those buildings could be placed underneath the structure.
Resident Ron Ott worried the new rules could lead to multi-story parking garages in Surfside Beach, something he said he never wants to see.
But, Councilman Rod Smith said parking garages aren’t on the horizon.
The parking committee and the planning commission both recommended the changes. Councilman Randle Stevens suggested the workshop so council can better understand the changes.
Town Council gave initial approval, but will have a workshop on the ordinance next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. before moving forward with a second and final vote. The meeting will likely be at the Surfside Beach Fire Station due to conflicting events inside Council Chambers.