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After violation, debris comes off road

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A “notice of violation” was sent to owners of property at Litchfield following an investigation into construction debris placed on a road through the marsh, according to the state Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. Workers began removing the debris this week.

The agency won’t release details of the violation until it receives the receipt of the certified letter sent to the property owners, said Dan Burger, spokesman for Coastal Resources.

McKenzie Beach LLC demolished part of a motel and restaurant on Highway 17 last month, remains of what was once a popular black beach resort during the era of segregation. The work received permits from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control because the derelict buildings contained some asbestos elements.

Under the permits, the asbestos material, floor tiles and the adhesive that held them in place, had to be removed before the buildings were demolished.

The work was done in compliance with that permit, according to DHEC.

The permits also said the remaining material would be taken to the Georgetown County landfill.

But neighbors called Coastal Resources when they saw cinder blocks, sections of stuccoed walls, electrical fixtures and parts of a toilet along a road that runs from the high ground along Highway 17 into the marsh bordering Clubhouse Creek.

They were concerned that high tides that covered the marsh road earlier this month carried debris into the saltwater marsh.

“A Notice of Violation has been issued to the property owners of McKenzie Beach,” Burger said.

A crew started removing debris on the road with a trackhoe this week.

“They’re cleaning it up real fast,” said Darryl Hammond, whose parents own a house on the creek north of the property.

Toddy Smith, agent for McKenzie Beach LLC, declined to comment.

The corporation bought the 29-acre tract in 2004. It extends across the creek to take in 5 acres on the southern tip of Litchfield Beach.

The marsh road dates to the 1930s, when the property was developed as a vacation spot. It once included a pavilion on the beach, cabins and a restaurant.

A footbridge that spanned the creek was destroyed by Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

The motel on the highway was built after the storm.

The motel, which has about 2,200 square feet, and the restaurant, just over 1,000 square feet, were just shells, according to the environmental assessment provided to DHEC.

The permit calls for the portion of the motel still standing to be demolished by Friday.

Owners have said they don’t plan to remove that anytime soon.

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