MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The City of Myrtle Beach is “doubling down” on its code enforcement efforts.
The city’s building code enforcement team is just two people for all of the residential and commercial properties in the city. The City of Myrtle Beach is in the middle of hiring two more code enforcement officers to bring the total to four.
Brian Tucker, assistant city manager with the City of Myrtle Beach, said it’s “practically impossible” for the two current officers to work proactively on code enforcement. Right now, they can only respond to citizens’ complaints because it’s just the two of them.
“Reactive code enforcement isn’t ideal,” Tucker said. “Increasing our code enforcement presence will allow us to slow down and really pay attention to every problematic property that we see.”
Tucker said that despite the constraints of the code enforcement team, buildings across the city are safe. He added that buildings go through multiple layers of inspection regularly enough that problems would be identified and addressed.
“We are able to catch the smaller things before they turn into bigger things,” Tucker said. “This effort will just help us catch more smaller things and catch them even earlier in the process.”
Tucker said code violations come in all shapes and sizes.
“There are minor ones that affect the aesthetics and there are major ones that affect the structure,” Tucker said. “We’re trying to create a more robust code enforcement office so that we can address the full spectrum proactively.”
The Florida condo collapse that killed 98 people last summer kicked the city’s construction services department, which oversees the code enforcement team, into high gear.
“That particular case made them really think twice and think through our process, think through the resources we have available to us,” Tucker said.
The two positions the city is currently looking to fill were made possible by the reallocation of funds within the city’s budget. The department said it needed more people on staff in order to get ahead of code enforcement in the city.
Tucker said the next budget year could call for an additional four code enforcement officers to reach a target of eight code enforces patrolling city streets.
Michael D. Clark is an architect from Atlanta who spends parts of his winter in Myrtle Beach each year. Clark often stays in high-rise hotels along Ocean Boulevard and said he’s a fan of the city’s focus on code enforcement.
“I think it’s commendable that the city is taking this position regarding life safety for occupants,” Clark said. “I think it’s urgent.”
Tucker said the emphasis on code enforcement is for the safety of Myrtle Beach but also a message to property owners that the city will be cracking down.
The City of Myrtle Beach already has cracked down on the Coral Sands Motel, ordering its demolition, and has also bought out other properties it said were in a state of disrepair with the intention of tearing them down.