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Pawleys Island: Cracks appear in driveway repair permits

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

When they got to the cracks in the driveway, they realized they had gone too far.

The town of Pawleys Island doesn’t allow impervious paving for driveways, but the Planning Commission struggled to decide what to do about those that already exist. Houses have to comply with the current rules and regulations if repairs or renovations exceed 50 percent of their value. “We have a lot of impervious driveways,” Jim McCants, the commission chairman said.

The issue arose earlier this year because the town wants to prevent any more from being built. Officials realized no building permit was required for a driveway, but at the same time it limited driveway materials to shell, crushed rock or pervious concrete or pavers. After two owners were required to tear out concrete drives, the commission recommended building permits be required.

Mayor Bill Otis realized Town Council had failed to act on the recommendation when he found a third driveway was about to be poured this winter. And that led to the discovery that the commission hadn’t dealt with repairs.

“I think it’s pretty simple. At what point does a repair not become a repair,” Otis told the commission last month.

The commission tossed around some numbers: 25 percent, 50 percent, 65 percent.

“We need to keep in mind the homeowners,” McCants said. “I don’t think any of us in this room want to be over-restrictive.”

Commission member Rocky Holliday said it seemed “onerous” to require someone to tear up 49 percent of a concrete driveway if the other 51 percent needed repair.

Commission member Bill Tuttle suggested restricting repairs to pervious material. “You really would have a hodge-podge,” commission member Buddy Keller said. “Nobody’s going to ride around and tell somebody you have to replace your driveway because it’s cracked up.”

And if the town requires a building permit for driveway repairs that would also apply to patching cracks, Keller noted.

In that case, the town shouldn’t restrict repairs, but just require a permit for any change in a driveway’s footprint, Tuttle said.

The other members agreed and voted to recommend to Town Council a permit is only needed to construct, replace or reconfigure a driveway.

And that’s only if someone wants to use impervious materials, in which case the permit would be denied. If a property owner uses the pervious materials, no permit is required, Otis said.

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