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Here’s why Murrells Inlet residents are concerned about a proposed development

Residents in a Murrells Inlet neighborhood are upset at a proposed development that would bring a 60-unit multifamily complex to the area, as well as two single-family homes.
Residents in a Murrells Inlet neighborhood are upset at a proposed development that would bring a 60-unit multifamily complex to the area, as well as two single-family homes. jbell@thesunnews.com

A proposed development in Murrells Inlet was deferred prior to the Georgetown County Planning Commission reviewing the plans after residents in a nearby neighborhood petitioned against the proposal.

The development would bring 60 multifamily condominiums and two single-family homes to the area of Murrells Inlet Road and Bandage Court, near Miyabi Japanese Restaurant and the Coastal Carolina Breast Center, and was expected to go before the planning commission Thursday evening.

“When the community was first notified of the plans, it was through a letter from the planning department,” said Bill Hills, a resident in the area. “The project had already been in the planning department for about 30 days, and the community was not notified. The notification said that we should attend the planning commission meeting here on this coming Thursday.”

The residents’ concerns center around issues with traffic, noise, privacy, environmental impacts and decreased property values.

The main concern, however, is that the development will not fit in with the “feel” of Murrells Inlet.

“The neighbors surrounding it, but also people in Murrells Inlet or people who live just outside Murrells Inlet, don’t want to see this, and don’t think that’s the best fit for Murrells Inlet and for the old village Murrells Inlet,” said Robert Powers, a Murrells Inlet resident.

Powers, who runs the Facebook group “MI neighbors against 60 unit development,” said that nearly 660 people have signed a petition against the development.

“This plan should be a lot further along,” Powers said. “They should have stormwater runoff, fire, access, all these kind of things should already be in the plan and approved, or you know, they should have these things before it comes to the neighbors.

“The neighbors and the community are not against development, they’re looking for development that conforms to the surrounding neighborhoods, which would be single-family or along those lines versus multifamily.”

Over the past few weeks, residents have met with Georgetown County Councilman John Thomas, who said he was worked to clear up any confusion regarding the development.

Now, members of the planning commission will discuss the project during their March 15 meeting.

“We need to give people who live around there more time to understand what the development is and be able to voice their concerns, Thomas said. “Until we get all the information about this and give it to the people in the neighborhood so they can have time to look at it, then we don’t need to have it go before the planning commission yet.”

The development

According to Thomas, the site is already zoned for general residential, which means multifamily units are allowed to be built on the property.

Documents from planning commission show that the developer plans to build four buildings that will contain 60 two-bedroom units. An ordinance requires two parking spaces per two-bedroom unit, which will add 120 parking spaces to the area.

“Legally, the proposed development is allowed, so the county can’t say, ‘no, you can’t build what you’re proposing,’ because it’s zoned for what they’re proposing to put there,” Thomas said.

“I am one of the first people to say we need to manage growth on the Waccamaw Neck and in Georgetown County because we have, the traffic volume is ever increasing and that’s a problem and we don’t need to add to it,” he said.

The main point of confusion among residents centers around how the development will be accessed. Right now, plans for the development shows that the proposal backs up to Murrells Inlet Road.

However, Thomas said the developers plan to use Bandage Court, a private road.

“The development will not have an access to Murrells Inlet Road,” Thomas said. “The county has the ability to prevent access onto Murrells Inlet Road, and I certainly intend to make sure that that’s part of the stipulation that’s put on the acceptance of this plan by the developer, is that they do not have access to Murrells Inlet Road.”

Developers do not yet have permission to use Bandage Court, Thomas said.

Megan Tomasic: 843-626-0343, @MeganTomasic

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