Citizens and North Myrtle Beach planning commissioners alike voiced their disappointment Tuesday over proposed plans to turn Possum Trot Golf Course into a 716-unit planned development district.
“I’m not a designer of homes or anything like that, but I’ll be very frank with you: I’m very disappointed,” said planning commission chairman Harvey Eisner. “It’s a cookie-cutter type of project. It’s one that does not have imagination. It’s one that, if I were a developer, I wouldn’t be awfully proud of it.”
The proposed neighborhood would have single-family homes, senior independent living and senior assisted living if city council approves a rezoning request for the course.
But the city council won’t get to vote on it just yet, and likely won’t be voting on the current plans anyway: planning commission tabled the proposal until after they hold a workshop to work through some concerns, including potential traffic problems and high density.
MyHorryNews reported in January that Possum Trot and Azalea Sands golf courses were in talks with the city of North Myrtle Beach regarding potential annexation and development. Those two golf courses, plus Beachwood Golf Club, are listed in the city’s 10-year comprehensive plan as opportunities for annexation.
“The commissioners didn’t feel the plan presented was an indication of what could be in that development,” Eisner said. “And with the two other golf courses that may in five to seven to 10 years being developed, we want to have something city can be proud of. We’re a little disappointed in the plan that was presented.”
If approved by city council, the 167-acre course would be annexed into the city and development would occur in several phases. The current proposed Tidal Walk development features 716 units: 542 single-family homes and 264 multi-family units. A senior assisted living facility is also planned for the new neighborhood.
“The multi-family component is planned to be senior independent living apartments,” said Shep Guyton, the registered agent for the family trust that owns the land. “The idea is somebody could come here and start out in a single-family home, migrate to the independent living apartments and not have to maintain anything outside, and then finally in the last stage of their life move to the assisted living where medical support is available.”
The current plans call for more open space and more roads in and out than the city would normally require, said planning director James Wood.
“They did an extensive traffic study though an engineering firm and they are providing four primary means of ingress and egress scattered around the development to flatten out the traffic demand,” Wood said. “If it were straight zoning, our ordinance would only require three ways in and out.”
While the city calls for 15 percent open space, the proposal leaves 31 percent undeveloped, “so they’re more than double our open space requirements,” Wood added.
But that wasn’t good enough for the residents who voiced their disapproval or even commissioners Silvio Cutuli, Bubba Collins, Harry Bruton and Eisner, who all voiced concerns over the plan.
“I don’t like the plan,” Eisner reiterated. “It’s more cookie-cutter type. We want some imagination into it and something the city can be proud of.”
Rob Kalousek, president of the North Myrtle Beach Golf and Tennis community just south of the golf course, said the design was “disappointing,” lacked creativity, and would add to the existing traffic issues on Possum Trot Road.
“The traffic is terrible. At that light, you’re going to wait five to 10 minutes to get out unless you have somebody go in the turning lane,” Kalousek said. “If this passes, I’m going to leave. That’s unfortunate, because I really love North Myrtle Beach Golf and Tennis.”
As part of the existing agreement, the developers planned to add a button to the cross walk at the rec center on Possum Trot Road, and restripe U.S. 17 to delineate a clear left-hand turn lane from U.S. 17 onto Possum Trot. But the exact details of what road improvements will be made are still up in the air.
“That’s still under negotiation and discussion,” Wood said. “Public works department was talking about doing some restriping of the turning lane to make the stacking longer. But that final design is still being discussed.”