Harrelson Boulevard could soon look very different – with hotels, banks and gas stations being built near the Myrtle Beach International Airport – if the City Council approves a change to the zoning in that area.
The Myrtle Beach Planning Commission on Tuesday approved an ordinance that would change zoning in the C-10 transportation district to expand the types of development allowed along Harrelson -- on the airport side of the road from roughly U.S. 17 Bypass to Kings Highway -- to include retail establishments.
“My goal is to try to raise as much money for the airport as possible,” said Jim Papadea, property manager for Horry County Department of Airports.
He said that would be done by leasing land to businesses such as gas stations with convenience stores or restaurants.
“The [Federal Aviation Administration] encourages that airports lease property … because then you have money that comes in every year on a lease,” Papadea said. “That money is used for operation of the airport.”
Financial institutions and hotels also could be allowed under the updated zoning, as well as marinas and docks.
Having gas stations near the airport would be convenient for travelers who need to fill up before returning rental cars, while hotels could be convenient for those who would like to stay close to the airport the night before an early flight, city planner Allison Hardin said during Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting.
The proposed zoning change also creates an overlay zone that includes guidance for construction, such as requiring new buildings to be 100 feet back from the road.
According to the proposed ordinance, the Harrelson Boulevard Overlay was created to protect the appearance of the “entry gateway” to the airport.
“As tourism is a major component of the Myrtle Beach economy, and community appearance a weighted consideration, properties fronting on Harrelson Boulevard will be considered to be in the Harrelson Boulevard Overlay District and will be developed in accordance with the primary land use zones,” according to the ordinance.
The Planning Commission opted against including guidelines for trees that would discourage birds from nesting near the airport, but Planning Director Jack Walker said the types of trees seen in the Myrtle Beach area wouldn’t cause issues.
The ordinance could be considered for first reading by City Council as soon as Tuesday. The ordinance would require a reading before the zoning changes would go into effect.
Papadea said if the city approves the changes, he was unsure how soon the properties could be leased and the businesses built.
“I’ve had some inquiries from service stations,” he said, adding he didn’t think there would be a need for more than one or two along Harrelson Boulevard. “We want to try to keep [the road] as attractive as we can for tourists coming in.”