The crowd in North Myrtle Beach City Council chambers let out an audible groan Friday afternoon at a planning commission workshop over a proposed development at Possum Trot golf course.
The reaction was in response to the news that the living units in a planned assisted living facility on the site were not included in the total density of the proposed development, which calls for 716 units, plus the assisted living.
Walter Warren with engineering firm Thomas and Hutton said the assisted living facility could house between 60 and 100 units, shooting up the total density to around the 800-unit range.
That didn’t go over well with the audience, especially considering the workshop was called primarily out of concerns about traffic and density, which the residents believed to be only 716 units during the last meeting where the development was discussed.
The planning commission had called the workshop to let the developers bring back some new ideas. But the developers brought the commissioners no new plans.
“I guess I expected a little more than they did,” said planning commission chairman Harvey Eisner. “I felt that they were waiting for us to do some things, and I think it’s not our position to do it. There was enough feedback, I thought, at the last meeting which talked about the density, talked about in and out, and they didn’t do anything to resolve that, and that bothers me.”
Shep Guyton, the registered agent for the family trust that owns the land, said they could bring back some more ideas at the next meeting.
Guyton said although he hadn’t discussed it with the developer, he would like to workshop some ideas with the planning commission to find a solution.
“Once we have something that we think you can endorse, then it would make sense for us to go to meetings with homeowners associations around the project and get their input,” Guyton said during the workshop. Guyton declined to comment after the meeting.
The development in question is a proposed 716-unit planned development district where Possum Trot golf course now stands. The project includes several types of single-family houses and apartments, and an assisted living community is in addition to that.
The developers have discussed making improvements to the intersection of U.S. 17 and Possum Trot Road, but no final agreement has been made.
Traffic was a major sticking point, particularly for Eisner. The main road into the planned development is Possum Trot Road, which residents say already backs up from traffic. Possum Trot intersects Cenith Drive, which circles the proposed development, eventually turning into Anne Street. Anne Street intersects 6th Avenue South, leaving two main access points to the development from U.S. 17.
“I still have a concern. No. 1, the density, and No. 2, the entrance and exit of the whole project. And until those things are resolved …” Eisner paused. “I’m not sure how they can be resolved, based on the profit the developer wants to make, and I understand that. I don’t know any other road they can get in and out on. And that’s a real concern of mine.”
Residents also had the chance to come to the mic after the workshop and give their input. They weren’t pleased seeing the same plan presented again.
“I’m not happy about Anne Street becoming a highway, which is exactly what’s going to happen [if the development is approved],” said Ann Cuffe, who lives on Anne Street.
Claudia Blaize, who lives on Cenith Drive, thought it was pointless to have a meeting going over the same plans that were discussed at the last meeting.
“This is a waste of time. It’s a waste of your time, a waste of our time,” Blaize told the planning commission. “We’d rather be at the pool with an umbrella drink, I’m sure. So I didn’t learn anything new except that the retirement center, the assisted living, wasn’t counted in the numbers. Now we’re at 800? I’m blown away. I just am blown away that this was an ‘Oops, I forgot to tell you about that, guys.’ I’m just beside myself.”
Eisner said he couldn’t guarantee what will happen when the developers come back to the next planning commission meeting in August, but he said that “it looks like we’ll probably table it again on Aug. 6 because we wouldn’t have a chance to really take a look at the plans.”