The Possum Trot golf course is safe from development – for now.
The city of North Myrtle Beach said in a news release Monday that the applicant had pulled their request for annexation and development of the golf course.
Shep Guyton, the agent for the family trust that owns the land, sent an email to city officials Saturday afternoon pulling the request, saying that public input “made it clear that the mixed uses and densities associated with a PDD in that location would not be acceptable.”
Guyton could not immediately be reached for comment.
The planned development district was controversial from the start, drawing criticism from the public and the planning commission.
The proposed annexation and development of the 167-acre course originally called for more than 700 residential units, including single-family homes and an apartment complex.
Residents who were unhappy with the original density felt misled by the developers after finding out that a planned assisted living facility was part of the commercial aspect of the planned development district and was not included in the residential density. They were particularly concerned with traffic on Possum Trot Road.
Mayor Marilyn Hatley said the city, too, was worried about traffic along the road, which would have been one of two main access points from the development to Highway 17. The J. Bryan Floyd Recreation Center is on one side of the road while two baseball fields are on the other side.
“That’s where many of our children play, and they play sports there,” Hatley said. “We have a lot of traffic coming in and out. We’re very concerned about the traffic and the safety of the children.”
The developers went back to the table and lowered the density, in part by getting rid of the planned apartment complex. But residents, still concerned about limited access and traffic problems, weren’t satisfied.
“I think they made the right choice,” Hatley said on the decision to pull the application. “I think they need to work on the plan. They need to downsize the plan. The density needs to be much less than what it is.”
Planning commission Chair Harvey Eisner said he hadn't heard from the developers since since the application was pulled.
"It does not surprise me they pulled," Eisner said. "I believe the majority of the planning commission would have vote ‘no’ and I believe a majority of the city council would have voted ‘no.’
The family trust could still come back with a different project if they wanted to, Eisner said, adding that he didn't know what their plans are.