Surfside Beach leaders spent more than half a million dollars on property for a parking lot.
The parcel at 212 Surfside Drive comprises two lots that contain trees and a structure that formerly housed a barbershop. Mayor Bob Childs said the purchase aims to address concerns about the new entertainment zoning district.
“There were complaints about insufficient parking,” he said. “This property came up (for sale) one block away from it, which will give additional parking.”
The Surfside Beach Town Council approved the development plans at a special meeting Monday.
The parking lot will have 40 parking spaces, including some for golf carts, and will be off Surfside Drive between Oak and Pinewood drives.
Officials said those who end up using the lot will be able to use ParkMobile, which allows people to pay using their cellphones.
“This evidently is the new wave,” Childs said.
Drivers with town decals will not be able to park at the lot for free.
Horry County land records list the prior owner of the two lots as a woman from Winchester, Virginia.
“That property has been there for a long time,” town resident Betty Lowery said during Monday’s meeting.
Childs noted there is not much property left in Surfside available to purchase.
“This being as close to the water as it is, it’s really a prime piece of property,” he said.
The development plans include tearing down the building and multiple trees on the site. Childs said an arborist determined the trees on the property are in poor shape.
A document written by Planning and Zoning Director Sabrina Morris included in council’s agenda packet expands upon this. The document says on July 24 she met with an arborist who evaluated the trees on the parcel and gave suggestions. The arborist saw there was a lack of maintenance and the trees had noticeably declined in condition.
The arborist said an ant infestation and the weight of overgrown vines and limbs have weakened trees, creating structural issues. Trees in the back and on the interior portion of the property have hollowed in some areas.
Additionally, the arborist said the bigger, more substantial oaks on the eastern side of the property are completely hollow, causing an undo hazard.
The town's fishing pier was decimated by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and plans are to construct a new concrete pier with wooden pilings. The “e-district” that includes the pier is supposed to promote opportunities for shopping, dining and entertainment. It stretches from Dogwood Drive South between 1st Avenue South and Surfside Drive down to the pier area, and includes businesses like the shop and restaurant on the pier, River City Café, Surfside Beach Oceanfront Hotel and Scotty’s Beach Bar.
Officials have said the area is meant to encourage walkability, but Childs noted that visitors from out of town still need somewhere to park.
“[The parking lot] gets them close,” he said.
Surfside Beach councilman Randle Stevens said the parking lot will be a solid source of revenue for the town, also mentioning the county is expected to experience massive growth over the next several years.
“People will be coming to our beach and if we don’t have the parking, we’ll have problems,” he said.