The letter from Mr. Ward said Steve Goggans approved a variance for “the big box developer who was going to bring Walmart to Pawleys Island,” implying of course, that Goggans wanted Walmart to come to town, and would waive design controls. I would like to set the record straight:
The variance offered by the Georgetown County Appearance Board (on which I sat and Mr. Goggans chaired,) in late September 2013, was granted for a Publix Food Store, not a Walmart. The Publix Food Store will be a part of the planned renovation of the Pawleys Plaza complex.
The Georgetown County Appearance Board had no involvement in the Walmart project, which was killed in 2012. While the developer is the same, the projects are different.
The variance granted by the Appearance Board for Publix, in September had to do with the amount of the roof that was to be sloped. The ordinance calls for 50 percent of the roofs in the Commercial Overlay Zone to be sloped (up to 50 percent can be flat or minimally sloped). The developer placed sloped roofs on approximately 52 percent of the whole complex, including the Publix Food Store, while 36 percent of the portion of roof over the Publix Food Store was sloped.
The Publix complex is largely a complex of derelict, existing buildings that will be renovated. Granting a variance for an existing complex of buildings hardly guts the ordinance, nor does it set a precedent for future development.
The vote by the Appearance Board which granted the Variance was 5 to 1, hardly a close vote. Four of the five who voted for the variance were design professionals, including two architects, one engineer, and one landscape architect.
It is unfortunate that a volunteer board of well intentioned and knowledgeable people can be so maligned and their decisions so misrepresented.