THIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
By Jason Lesley
Parker’s Store, one of the oldest commercial buildings in the Pawleys Island area, may be getting a new home at the Island Shops.
Wyndell Peacock of Planning and Design Resources, representing Pobuckra Properties, told members of the Georgetown County Planning Commission that relocating the old store, built in 1935, would be part of a plan that requires the rezoning of two parcels from “general commercial” to the Island Shops “planned development.”
The 1,500-square foot store presently at the corner of Highway 17 and Tiller Drive would be moved to a lot between Spa Sera and Lemon Drops facing the pond at the Island Shops as part of a four-phase development plan.
Parker’s Store was one of three general stores at Pawleys Island in the early years of the last century, just up the road from Lachicotte’s and Marlow’s. “Everybody wants this building saved,” said Jan Devereux, a Pobuckra partner. “It’s not a money-maker. It’s a labor of love, history and caring for the community.” She cautioned that the partners are still negotiating with the owners of the building and the movers, and the deal is not finalized. “We’re close to nailing it down,” she said.
George and Rosa Parker first had a store on Petigru Drive and built a new store after Highway 17 was paved, Faye Marlow told the Coastal Observer in 2006. That was the story she heard from Rosa Parker, who died in 1987 at age 94. Marlow and her late husband, Frank, ran Marlow’s store at the North Causeway for 45 years. Their store is now Frank’s restaurant. “The Parkers were well-thought-of,” Marlow said. “It was a small store, but really nice.”
Ane and Pete DiVenere owned the property from the mid-1980s to 2006. They started leasing the store in the 1970s, using it as an office for Pete’s construction business and retail space for Ane’s antiques and design business. The store was last home to Cuz I Gotta Have It, a folk art gallery. The property was sold nine years ago to a group building the Sonic drive-in, subdivided and has been vacant ever since.
The 2-acre corner lot is being actively offered for sale now and moving the store is the only avenue to saving it, according to Devereux.
Parker’s Store would be the centerpiece of the Island Shops proposal. Parking spaces in Highway 17’s right-of-way would be eliminated and replaced with a walking path connecting Waverly Place, the Island Shops and Downtown Pawleys. Rustic Table, a restaurant in the Island Shops, would get more outdoor dining space under the plan.
Parking for Island Shops would be redesigned with spaces added in back, Peacock said, to bring it into compliance with the zoning law and connect Waverly Road and Professional Lane.
The final phase, considered more long term, would involve a 5,400-square foot retail building at Waverly Place once the county farmers market is no longer on the site. Peacock said owners of the property want to see the farmers market’s hours extended to weekends. It presently operates only on Wednesdays.
Owners of the property sought an exemption to the 90-foot setback rule that allows buildings to align with others that are within 100 feet. The Planning Commission’s recommendation to County Council did not include a provision to allow the new building a 70-foot setback as requested in light of a proposal being discussed by County Council to reduce the setback to 50 feet.
Peacock said the Island Shops has not been in compliance with county zoning law for over 40 years. He said the changes in parking and a new entrance and exit on Waverly Road and Professional Lane are efforts to help traffic with the new median on Highway 17.
“We are trying to interconnect them,” he said, “so people can travel from one to another or leave the property without going onto 17. It will solve problems caused by the median.”