Appearance board wields great power

Its nine members are volunteers. The Myrtle Beach City Council appoints them for four-year terms.

They’re interviewed, but not interrogated, after they apply.

It might surprise some, then, that Myrtle Beach’s Community Appearance Board has the power to kill a $228 million county project.

The board has broad discretionary powers that allow - in fact, require - members to judge projects beyond aesthetics and look at how they will affect the area’s economy, tourist appeal and residents’ everyday life.

The board must:

  • “protect and enhance the city’s appeal to residents, tourists and visitors and thus support and stimulate business ...”
  • “stabilize and improve property values and prevent blighted areas and, thus, increase tax revenues ...”
  • “foster civic pride and community spirit ...”
  • “sustain the comfort, health, tranquility and contentment of residents and ... promote and protect the peace, health and welfare of the city.”

“I am there, first, to do my job,” said board member Jeff Edens, who said he is against expanding the terminal at all. “That’s the most important thing. And to make good, logical decisions and not to be swayed by other people’s opinions. This is an important decision.”

The board also looks after the community’s appearance - the aesthetics that can shape a town’s character and charm.

Surprisingly, the board is not one of several that the state requires cities to keep, so Myrtle Beach could get rid of the Community Appearance Board.

Contact LISA FLEISHER at 626-0317 or lfleisher@thesunnews.com.