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Land use: Rezoning requests face opposition

Property owners at North Litchfield and Pawleys Island have raised objections to two zoning changes that are up for review today by the Georgetown County Planning Commission. Neither project is a stranger to controversy.

A commercial “planned development” at the Boyle Drive entrance to North Litchfield is up for review because no work has started in the three years since it was last approved. The zoning ordinance requires work to start within two years, although extensions are granted routinely.

But the owners of the 6.7 acres told the county they want it to revert to “neighborhood commercial,” which is what is called for in the land use plan.

North Litchfield residents say the change will eliminate restrictions of access that were included in the planned development zoning. “Those restrictions would no longer be in effect if the property reverted to neighborhood commercial,” John Thomas, president of the Litchfield Beaches Property Owners Association, wrote the commission.

The site was approved in 2002 for a mix of retail and office buildings, but without access to Boyle Drive. In 2006, a multi-family project was proposed for the property with an entrance on Boyle. That plan was never approved.

In 2009, the county agreed to allow access to the commercial development from Boyle Drive, Jason Drive in Waccamaw Trace and from a right-in, right-out turn on Highway 17.

That agreement also called for a public hearing before any development and allowed for a traffic impact study for Boyle Drive.

The county planning staff recommends approval of the change.

The Boyle Drive and Highway 17 access points have already been built, Boyd Johnson, the county planning director, points out. “It is highly improbable that a commercial property owner would ever want to reduce access to their property,” he said. “There is no reason anyone would do so.”

The planning staff recommends denial of the other rezoning.

Three Island Girls LLC wants a .6-acre lot on the North Causeway changed from residential to commercial use.

The property is owned by Arline Cribb, Doreen Cribb and Cathey Furr. Their request for a zoning change in 2010 was deferred because the commission appeared ready to deny it.

They say commercial use is more appropriate for the property, which is adjacent to the Chive Blossom Café.

The rezoning is opposed by the Town of Pawleys Island and the Pawleys Island Civic Association, as it was in 2010.

“Nothing has changed,” Pawleys Island Mayor Bill Otis said this week as he introduced a resolution urging the county to reject the change.

Although the property isn’t in the town limits, the council and the civic group say it will lead to more commercial development on island’s “gateway.”

Planning staff oppose the change because the property is designated for low-density residential use in the future land use plan.

The commission meets at 5:30 p.m. in the County Council chambers in the old courthouse in Georgetown.

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