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Horry County Council OKs carnival rides, helicopter tours axed

The Horry County Council on Tuesday considered several ordinances that would open up parts of the county to new business prospects, giving the nod to some projects and turning down others.

The council approved a zoning change that will allow "carnivals" to take up temporary residence in areas with commercial highway zoning that meet specific requirements. The council also gave a nod to mobile food vendors who now will be allowed in commercially zoned areas.

A proposal to bring a new helicopter tour company to the area near Freestyle Music Park did not pass through council Tuesday.

Carnivals will be allowed in parking lots in commercially zoned highway districts with more than 50 acres of property and excess parking. The first of those carnivals will go up in a few weeks at the Myrtle Beach Mall and stay through August.

Several residents from subdivisions neighboring the Myrtle Beach Mall protested during a public hearing on the proposal earlier this month, saying the carnival would create unwanted issues in their communities. County Councilman Brent Schulz met with residents along with staff to find ways to compromise with neighbors and assure them that the plan would have minimal impacts on the community.

"We took the current ordinance and backed the language into it," Schulz said.

"We tried to put the specific language in the ordinance so that the residents and the [carnival company] would feel good about it before we moved forward."

Some of the changes in addition to defining the word carnival included limiting the types of rides and their number to 12; specifically prohibiting camping; requiring all food to be prepared ahead of time and specifying security and noise control requirements that were outlined in other existing ordinances.

County planning director Janet Carter said there would only be a few sites in the county that would be governed by the ordinance.

The council also approved an ordinance to allow mobile food vendors to set up shop in commercially zoned areas as long as they met specific requirements, including passing all South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control food service requirements.

Vendors will have to apply for the DHEC certification as well as a vending permit from the county, which will be awarded in limited numbers and based on a zoned map similar to that used for vending at the Spring motorcycle rallies.

Horry County council members did not look as favorably at a proposal to build a helicopter pad at the intersection of George Bishop Parkway and Claypond Road.

The 3 acre site would have housed a helicopter company that planned to offer tours around the beach.

Councilman Gary Loftus, whose district includes the site, said there were several safety concerns at the location, which is across the street from the roller coaster at Freestyle Music Park.

"There's high voltage lines, a roller coaster..." Loftus said. "I applaud the idea. I support other use of the property.

"We need to make something happen there. I would submit that it's the right idea."