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‘This is a disaster’: North Myrtle Beach fumbles number of homes in Possum Trot proposal

Possum Trot Golf Course in North Myrtle Beach is expected to close on Sept. 30 when The Glens Group’s lease to operate the property as a golf course expires.
Possum Trot Golf Course in North Myrtle Beach is expected to close on Sept. 30 when The Glens Group’s lease to operate the property as a golf course expires. jbell@thesunnews.com

North Myrtle Beach residents were flabbergasted Friday afternoon as they discovered Possum Trot Golf Club could be annexed and rezoned to house nearly 800 residences instead of 716, a number which has been presented and discussed during public meetings.

With the 167-acre golf course, located in unincorporated Horry County, scheduled to close Sept. 30, the city received a redevelopment proposal to convert the layout into a mixed-use project called Tidal Walk.

The request for annexation and a Planned Development District zoning distinction includes 452 single-family detached homes, 264 attached multifamily units, and eight acres of an assisted living facility, with associate medical services, that would include 60 to 80 beds.

But planning officials realized they made an error in the numbers when project engineer Walter Warren discussed the proposed development during Friday’s Planning Commission workshop meeting.

“When staff looked at this report, we didn’t realize that it was over 716,” North Myrtle Beach principal planner Aaron Rucker said. “We thought it was 716 including the assisted living.”

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Residents, who have come out in droves over the last few months opposing the project, were dismayed by the misunderstanding, especially with most in attendance expecting to hear a modified proposal. Planning officials were expected to vote on the project during their July 16 meeting, but tabled the vote, expressing concern with safety, traffic, density and design.

Friday’s meeting was scheduled to discuss the updated proposal, but resident Claudia Blaze told commissioners that the meeting was a waste of time.

“I feel like we just went over the same meeting again,” Blaze said. “I didn’t learn anything new except that the assisted living wasn’t counted in the numbers. I’m blown away. I’m just beside myself.”

With Warren admitting the proposal hadn’t changed since the July 16 meeting, planning officials, who anticipated voting on the project during their Aug. 6 meeting, said they’ll likely have to table the vote again to hold another workshop meeting.

Officials, once again, requested the developer consider reducing the residential density, asserting it’s too large for the property and city. They also asked them to reconfigure the aesthetic design and examine the traffic impact the development will have with vehicles filtering out to U.S. 17.

“This is a disaster,” resident Faye Bellamy said.

North Myrtle Beach annexed more than 1600 acres west of the Intracoastal Waterway in 2011 but most of that property has now been placed into conservation easements that will restrict any future development.

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Anna Young is the Coastal Cities reporter for The Sun News covering anything and everything that happens locally. Young, an award-winning journalist who got her start reporting local news in New York, is dedicated to upholding the values of journalism by listening, learning, seeking out the truth and reporting it accurately. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SUNY Purchase College.
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