Myrtle Beach Planning Commission rejects request to allow curb cuts in Cabana District

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – The Myrtle Beach Planning Commission Tuesday denied a request by a property owner in the city’s Cabana District to allow curb cuts and parking on properties in the district.

George Andrew Wilson was among about a dozen people who own cabanas in the district between 5400 and 5732 North Ocean Blvd. who attended Tuesday afternoon’s meeting. He said his mother is 80 years old and has health problems that prevent her from getting to his cabana.

Property owners said installing curb cuts would allow golf carts and other vehicles to cross the sidewalk without having to drive over curbing, which is prohibited. Currently, parking is limited nearby, and cabana owners have to walk to their properties.

“All we want is reasonable access to our private property,” Wilson said. ‘Currently, there is no access along Ocean Boulevard. All we want is a reasonable compromise.”

There are currently 37 cabana lots on the property, and Kelly Mezzapelle, the city’s senior planner, said adding the cuts would create a variety of safety issues, among them having vehicles in close proximity to a park and path that has multiple workout stations.

“The area is used morning to night,” Commissioner Joyce Karetas said. “There’s always someone there. It’s a very special place.”

The area is also part of a coastal regulation zone and is included in a section of the city’s comprehensive development plan dealing with preserving land sites and structures that have historical significance, Mezzapelle said.

Commissioner Sally Howard opposed the request, saying “we’ve got to look at the big picture. Overall, this creates a bigger problem.”

Commissioner Zeb Thomas said he was sympathetic with the property owners but voted against the request because the request as presented would lead to unrestricted parking.

Bill Pritchard, the commission’s chairman, said he doesn’t expect the issue to go away. He told those at the meeting the commission is willing to work with them “to do something different than what we have today.”

“I would propose we turn it down now because it’s not the right thing to do and then make a commitment as a committee to take it up again after the adoption of the comprehensive plan as part of our normal work schedule,” he said.

City Council will consider the commission’s final draft of a new comprehensive development plan in the near future. The planning commission unanimously approved a final draft of the 2021 plan on Tuesday, after several months of working on it with the city’s planning department.

Thomas called the plan a “vision statement” for how the commission hopes to see things done in the future. It addresses issues of economic development, natural resources, housing and land use, among other things.

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