North Myrtle Beach residents concerned about development, overcrowding

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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Some North Myrtle Beach residents in the Crescent Beach neighborhood are concerned about possible overcrowding as the city considers rezoning certain districts.

The City of North Myrtle Beach planned to rezone 27 plots of land near 17th Ave. S. and South Ocean Boulevard in the Crescent Beach neighborhood from the current resort-residential designation to resort-commercial.

The city’s planning commission unanimously voted to recommend denial of the plan; however, North Myrtle Beach City Council approved the first reading of the rezoning ordinance Dec. 6 by a 4-3 vote.

At second reading Jan. 3, council decided to hold off on approval to listen to concerns from residents and get more information from city staff in a workshop held Wednesday afternoon.

John Lamberth owns a home in the Crescent Beach neighborhood where he splits time between North Myrtle Beach and Greensboro, North Carolina. He said the city should keep the status quo and not make any zoning changes.

“It makes no sense,” Lamberth said.

Lamberth was most bothered by the fact that the city’s planning commission recommended denial, but city council didn’t agree.

“City council should rely on the planning commission,” Lamberth said. “They’re the ones that know that the density of it is too much. We do not want to be Myrtle Beach.”

Neighbors were concerned about density and overcrowding, as a change in zoning would allow for more mid-rise condos in the district, which residents say is quiet and peaceful.

Kenneth Bryson’s mother lives in Crescent Beach right next door to Lamberth.

“This is more like a retirement place for older people here that deserve to have the respect,” Bryson said. “I feel like if they’re going to do this, I feel like they ought to take it to Myrtle Beach where it’s wide open.”

The goal of Wednesday’s workshop was to present a revised plan for rezoning that took into account residents’ concerns. City staff presented council and about 50 people in attendance two options for rezoning: an overlay zone over just the southern portion of the two areas originally chosen for rezoning or a planned development district.

Damien Triouleyre was one of a handful of people in the audience who were given the chance to speak before council. He was in favor of the overlay zone that cuts the original area selected in half.

“If we do an overlay, and the city does an overlay, then there’s much more control over what’s built there,” Triouleyre said.

City council seemed to agree with Triouleyre that the overlay zone was the best way to move forward.

“We’re all concerned about density,” North Myrtle Beach City Council member Hank Thomas said. “This is a way, by working together with the property owner, we can actually reduce density less than what he’s actually entitled to.”

The city said the revised plan was a good compromise for the concerned residents as well as those looking at the area as an opportunity for redevelopment. The overlay zone would have tougher restrictions than what is currently in place while also bringing in restaurants and shops that the city said are to the benefit of everyone in the neighborhood.

“I think the expansion [of the overlay zone] is a positive, and I think it’s a win for everybody,” North Myrtle Beach City Council member Fred Coyne said.

The revised ordinance still has to be officially written up, go through the planning commission and two readings before city council.

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