North Myrtle Beach is in talks with developers PulteGroup, which owns the Del Webb brand, to develop the 167-acre Possum Trot golf course after it closed in October of last year.
PulteGroup invited the city to hold a workshop at the J. Bryan Floyd Recreation Center to present their proposal for the city and community to see, said Graham Hawkins, the company’s director of land acquisitions.
“We’ve just got to have conversations with the community and with council and make sure we’re on the same page,” Hawkins said.
The last time developers tried to build on the course, they faced hefty opposition from city officials and the surrounding community.
The last proposal was more than 700 residential units, plus an assisted living community. And residents were worried that the drainage system couldn’t handle the increasingly severe storms and flooding that’s occurred in the area over the last several years.
“This thing failed in annexation last year, so we knew that it was sensitive,” Hawkins said. “So we said ‘Hey, let’s air this out.’ It was a group decision; the city deserves credit for doing it as well.”
But this Del Webb development proposal, a 493-home, amenity-packed 55-and-older active adult community that sends all the storm drainage into the Intracoastal Waterway, is different.
“First of all, it’s about 300 less homes,” said City Manager Mike Mahaney. “Second of all, rather than designing to a 25-year storm, they’re designing to a 100-year storm. The large lakes are attractive because people are on lakes rather than looking [at] back-to-back fences. All the drainage is going to the Intracoastal rather than the other way. Those are all positives.”
The last development included multi-family units within the residential section, on top of the assisted living complex, and the community was worried about the increase in traffic. This development proposal isn’t near as dense, with no multi-family units included.
“We’re throwing away a lot of land as a function of the needs and the wants,” Hawkins said.
The new development proposal has three access points: two on Tom E Chestnut Road and one via Possum Trot Road. It features a proposed buffer around the development that, at its thinnest point, is still 50 feet wide.
Homes in the proposal range in size from just over 1,200 square feet to more than 3,700 square feet.
The proposed community includes lawn maintenance and indoor amenities including a heated pool, fitness center, lounge, multi-purpose rooms and a ballroom. Outdoor amenities include a “resort pool,” pickle ball courts, bocce ball courts and an outdoor kitchen.
But it’s still just a proposal and the developers want more input from the community and city before they spend any money finalizing plans, conducting a traffic study or buying the land, which they would ask the city to annex.
And there are a few kinks to be worked out in the design.
For example, under the city’s land development regulations, a single block can’t be longer than 500 feet, but the development proposal includes at least one block that’s 800 feet.
That means the developers might have to ask the city to alter their land development regulations. Another option would be a planned development district, which could allow the longer block, but would also require a commercial aspect, such as the addition of a coffee shop.
Hawkins said he wasn’t sure which direction the company would go.
“That’s a detailed answer, no clue,” he said. “We have to go through many different points.”
Mayor Marilyn Hatley said she believed there would have to be some improvements to Possum Trot Road for the new development to go in, but added that while there would be more traffic, it likely wouldn’t be a “huge increase in traffic, because most of these Del Webb communities, they have so many amenities on their property that they spend a lot of time within their own communities.”