010418 Growth: Forum will present concept for ‘downtown' Pawleys
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John Sands takes notes during last fall’s workshop.

Growth: Forum will present concept for ‘downtown' Pawleys

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A proposed plan for the Pawleys Island business district will be unveiled next week at a community forum. It is meant to show how ideas gleaned from Waccamaw Neck residents at workshops last year can be put into practice, said John Sands, who initiated the conversation about growth in the area.

“I hope people will ask: How will we make that happen,” he said.

The plan comes from the Miami-based firm of Dover, Kohl and Associates. The firm’s founder, Victor Dover, led residents through a workshop in October that asked them to draw out the kind of community they envision in the future. One theme that emerged was creating walkable “downtowns” in Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet’s waterfront.

“The contract with Dover, Kohl specified that they should develop one or more illustrations of what life might look like,” Sands said. “I felt like we owed people a response.”

He doesn’t plan further meetings. The original intent was to create awareness of the county’s 10-year update to its state-mandated comprehensive plan. As it turned out, the existing plan allows many of the idea that were raised at the forums, said Boyd Johnson, Georgetown County’s planning director.

“What we’ve got to do is get it in the zoning ordinance or development regulations,” he said.

One place he wants to start is with sidewalks. “If we’re talking about connecting the community with bike paths, the developers ought to pay to put the sidewalks into their subdivisions, just like they do with water and sewer and streets,” Johnson said.

Sands didn’t want to go into detail about the Dover, Kohl concept before the forum. But he said the goal is to start people thinking about the possibilities. “We have to create an appreciation that change can happen,” Sands said. “I think it will take a while, years perhaps.”

The forum will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Waccamaw Library.

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