MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The Myrtle Beach Planning Commission revisited a proposed ordinance Tuesday that could impact where future gas stations are located in Myrtle Beach.
“My focus was the long-term impact of someone living next to that gas station,” said Geoff Kay, who’s seeking the ordinance.
Kay, who present his proposal at a planning commission meeting earlier in January, is one of hundreds of residents who are concerned that Benzene — a cancer-causing chemical found in gas that evaporates in the air — would pose health hazards to those who live near gas stations.
The ordinance would prevent gas stations from being within 500 feet of a residential lot in Myrtle Beach. If passed, the ordinance could mean that several gas stations would be considered to be non-conforming properties.
The ordinance cites reduced property value, noise and pollutants as concerns.
“The air quality — or the air in general — in Myrtle Beach is not the same as the air in Los Angles, Chicago, or Dallas or New York,” Kelly Mezzapelle, the city’s senior planner, said.
She pointed to research from the Environmental Protection Agency to back her claims. In the Myrtle Beach, Conway, and North Myrtle Beach areas, data shows that out of the last 223 days, 200 days were rated satisfactory for air quality, the highest rating by the EPA. The remaining 23 days saw moderate air quality.
“It’s on the applicant to give us some evidence that we have a problem here in Myrtle Beach, and we just haven’t seen that,” Mezzapelle said.
The planning commission will present recommendations to Myrtle Beach City Council on Feb. 1.
The primary recommendation is conducting a local study to determine the health hazards of living within 500 ft. of a gas station which commissioners said could be costly and time-consuming.
“I ask you guys to consider what your recommendation to the city council would be and then we’ll put it in the hands of city council,” Kay said.
City commissioners could also recommend to pass or not to pass the ordinance. A vote from city council is expected on February 1.
Count on News13 for updates.