An addition to a Market Common area housing development has been approved in spite of objections raised by several residents.

“I think they would like us to go away,” Belle Harbor resident Diane Penscek said of attempting to air out complaints with developer Lennar Homes.

Engineering group Thomas & Hutton was given the nod by Myrtle Beach Planning Commission to subdivide about 69 acres into 232 lots for single-family homes and townhomes. The lots will range from 5,995 to 13,025 square feet and would result in about 500 more homes added to the development off U.S. 17 at Kingfisher Drive.

Walter Warren said a 60-70 foot buffer zone will be between the houses and U.S. 17. He added the four new public streets created in the development will have speed humps to calm traffic.

Penscek, backed by about a dozen Belle Harbor residents, said their opposition leaves them wondering how to find space in the pool.

“There’s 158 homes and one pool,” she said after the commission voted to approved the Lennar project. “We are concerned about safety and that one small pool can not accommodate all those people. Originally it was supposed to be a capacity for 50 people in the pool and now the capacity is up to 300. Nobody would be swimming. We would have to stand shoulder to shoulder.

“I feel like a lot of people were misled.”

Penscek said Lennar told the residents if any other homes were added to the development, the new areas would have their own amenities.

“You know there’s a cost to building another pool, but there’s a cost if they don’t,” she said of plans to attend the January city council meeting to voice her neighbors’ concerns.

The approval does not hinge on city council approval, said Kenneth May, the city’s zoning and planning administrator. He said the planning commission is the only green light the developers need to move forward with the project.

Penscek added she and the others from Belle Harbor are not opposed to having more neighbors rather they are unhappy about the amenities area being overcrowded. Currently, she said, there are two restrooms and 37 parking spaces for the pool.

May had explained the city’s codes do not address the size of the amenities that include the pool, a pickleball court, picnic tables and a few grills. He said the application “meets all the city requirements.”

Planning Commission Chairman Bill Pritchard said he understands the concerns of the residents, but “we have no power to do anything about it.”

Penscek said her neighbors first heard about the additional homes while at the pool this summer.

“I didn’t believe it,” she smiled.

But, she said the community held a homeowners association meeting on Nov. 6 that ended with “some unhappy people, let’s say.” She said several residents requested forming a committee to air out the differences and to have quarterly HOA meetings, but both requests were denied.

“It’s approved now,” she said standing along Oak Street after the meeting. “We’ll come back for the Jan. 14 city council meeting, but I’m not sure what happens next.”

Janet Morgan is the editor of the Myrtle Beach Herald. Contact her at 843-488-7258 or at janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com.

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