Myrtlewood area residents' worries about traffic and commercial development didn't fall on deaf ears at Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc.
The company, which had asked Myrtle Beach to annex 585 acres of Myrtlewood-area land, including the two golf courses many residents bought their homes for, revised its proposal to 85 acres of commercial property along U.S. 17 Bypass between 48th Avenue North and Robert M. Grissom Parkway to allay concerns.
The Myrtle Beach City Council unanimously approved the first draft of the new proposal Tuesday.
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It requires one final vote to become official.
B&C representative Seth McCoy said the change was made because of residents' concerns. He said he couldn't comment on whether the excluded 500 acres would ever come back to the city for annexation.
Residents had packed the auditorium at recent planning commission meetings when the annexation proposal was on the agenda, telling commissioners they worried about increased traffic, commercial developments being too close to their homes - blocking their golf-course and Intracoastal Waterway views - and damaging the environment.
The city assured residents that no development would be allowed without the approval of the Community Appearance Board, but that did not appease them. At Tuesday morning's workshop, resident Larry Reiter told the council he was happier after B&C removed 500 acres from the proposal, but he still worried about traffic.
Mayor John Rhodes said that if the area becomes part of the city, the chances are better that at some point roads such as Wild Iris Drive would be widened to alleviate congestion. B&C Chief Real Estate Officer Tony Cox said residents will continue to have access to Grande Dunes Boulevard and Marina Parkway, providing more access to the Bypass.
Others, such as Jerry McCartney, said they were thankful B&C had listened to them.
As the council and audience looked at a map of the revised proposal during the workshop, Rhodes stood up and pointed to a triangular piece of wooded property between the Bypass and Kings Highway, just east of the area B&C wanted annexed.
"This right here? I want it," he said, adding that the property is surrounded by the city.
Cox said his company, which has not said why it wants any of the land annexed, could submit an annexation request that afternoon, though it wouldn't be voted on right away.
Councilman Phil Render said the council would want to talk about that as a whole, and at the afternoon meeting, Rhodes apologized for getting carried away about the "golden triangle," saying it wasn't his decision to make and that he alone couldn't do anything.
"We, together, have accomplished a lot," Rhodes said.
In other business Tuesday, the council swept more than $4.3 million in accommodations tax into city coffers, as it has for the past three years, to pay for public safety, beach monitoring and renourishment and convention center marketing - all tourism-related expenses, the city says. The council also voted to approve more than $750,000 in requests from various groups that used to receive accommodations tax money but now get cash from the city's general fund.
Some of those groups include the Children's Museum of South Carolina, which got $90,000, the Oceanfront Merchants Association, which received $90,000, and the annual Beach Ball Classic basketball tournament, which got its usual $50,000.
Rhodes is the president of that organization, and he recused himself from the vote.
Heidi Vukov, owner of Croissants Bakery and Bistro, received $80,000 for her new Coastal Uncorked food and wine festival.
"We've got advertising all ready to go," she said as she left the meeting.