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Murrells Inlet: Traffic cited in denial of rezoning request

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Members of the Georgetown County Planning Commission recommended County Council deny a request to rezone 15 acres on Wesley Road in Murrells Inlet that would allow 53 building lots.

The land is presently zoned for residential lots of one-half acre, but developer Chip Abernethy and owner Gaston Collins are seeking to increase the density with lots of 6,000 square feet. Abernethy said the houses in the proposed development would sell for prices between $250,000 and $300,000.

“There’s a real need for houses at that price,” he told the commission members, and the 53 units were necessary to make the development profitable. Reducing the zoning to medium density would cut 13 houses from the development, but Abernethy said that would kill the proposal.

Terry Becker told members of the commission he bought land adjoining the property proposed for the development in June. He asked that the rezoning exclude low-income housing and condos. His wife said she was worried about the safety of the couple’s five children with the additional traffic.

Boyd Johnson, county planner, recommended the commission deny the request because it would add to traffic congestion coming to the neighborhood west of Highway 17 Bypass. A 240-unit apartment complex is being built to the north, Johnson said. Rezoning the property “general residential” would cause more of a traffic concern because it includes multi-family. The rezoning request will be considered by Georgetown County Council during three readings beginning next month.

Members of the Planning Commission recommended approval of a request to rezone a lot on Norris Drive adjacent to the Litchfield Inn’s parking lot. Dan Stacy, agent for Litchfield Inn Council of Co-owners, said the lot would be used for additional parking. His request was to rezone the 7,800-square foot parcel from “resort residential” to “resort commercial.” The lot, Johnson said, is too small to accommodate a duplex or multi-family housing. Michael Graydon expressed concern about stormwater runoff. Stacy said the owners did not plan to pave the lot.

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