The future of the Myrtle Beach Speedway rests with Horry County Council.
The county’s planning commission on Thursday unanimously recommended rezoning the nearly 46-acre Speedway property, which sits near the intersection of U.S. 501 and S.C. 31. The rezoning would help clear the way for the redevelopment of the site into townhouses and commercial space. Some proposed uses for the property include a hotel, medical offices, senior living space and warehouse storage.
“What we talked about is pretty simple,” said Keane McLaughlin, a landscape architect working on the project.
The rezoning request now heads to county council, which could take its first vote on the project as early as July 14.
Planning officials’ primary concern about the redevelopment is the way traffic will get to the property. Access to the Speedway comes only from Hospitality Lane, a frontage road that has a single connection with Waccamaw Pines Drive.
County officials are exploring possible infrastructure improvements for the area, which will be impacted when Postal Way is extended. Waccamaw Pines Drive will eventually become part of Postal Way.
Andy Markunas, the head of the county’s engineering department, said it’s unclear if a traffic signal could be placed at the intersection of Waccamaw Pines Drive and Hospitality Lane. One plus is the intersection lines up with a Tanger Outlets entrance, but the challenge is that the intersection is so close to U.S. 501.
“I can’t tell you for sure whether or not it’s going to get it or something else would work like a roundabout,” Markunas said, adding that a roundabout might also not be feasible because of the proximity of the highway.
McLaughlin said the developer is willing to work with consultants to obtain a traffic impact analysis.
“We understand the traffic concerns,” he said. “We’re open to some sort of signalized intersection.”
Originally a dirt track, the Myrtle Beach Speedway dates back to 1958. The track’s history includes serving as a training ground for some of the sport’s biggest stars, including three generations of Earnhardts and four generations of Pettys.
The Speedway’s owner has said he plans to close the track in September. The sale of the property is contingent upon the rezoning being approved.
During Thursday's planning commission meeting, chairman Steven Neeves acknowledged the change taking place.
"Goodbye, Speedway," he said.