It was his great-great-grandfather’s home site, but state Rep. Alan Clemmons is putting some of the land up for sale.
To make the sale, Clemmons said, the zoning for the nine acres needs to be changed to allow for a higher density on much of the property.
The Myrtle Beach City Council approved the first of two readings to change the farmland off Highway 15 and 17th Avenue South amid three neighbors asking for a denial.
Randy Hunt said the two weeks between the first and final reading of the rezoning request will give him time to gather a petition of other neighbors who oppose the request.
At issue, Hunt said, are concerns about allowing 20 units per acre that would increase traffic, noise, stormwater issues and likely change the face of the area from single family homes and townhouses to “towers up to 60 feet.”
Clemmons said he had never heard complaints about stormwater issues stemming from his property and if some arise from a new development, the developer is required to fix the problem.
And, he added, he has the same concerns as his neighbors since he is not planning on leaving his home that sits on the edge of the property. His home is on about 0.75 acres that his not included in the rezoning request.
“We’re going nowhere. We are a part of that neighborhood,” he said during the city council meeting on Tuesday.
Clemmons’ rezoning request was approved by the city’s planning commission, but needs to receive the city council’s approval in the form of two readings.
The property is mostly farmland that sits on a residential mixed use zoned area. Whispering Pines Golf Course, townhomes and single-family homes surround it.
The rezoning request ups the allowable units from 108 to 180. It also allows for buildings to be up to 50 feet high or five stories.
Clemmons had told the planning commission he had drawn up plans for potential investors that included townhomes, but the several investors rejected the plans. He said the only interested buyers want higher density.
“I understand people want to make money,” neighbor Loretta Orndorff told the city council. “It just doesn’t seem to fit there. Our quality of life matters too.”
And the rezoning could be setting an unwanted precedent, neighbor Mike Masullo warned the council.
Masullo said it is possible any landowner in the city will seek to rezone pockets of land to solicit higher prices.
Masullo had been on the zoning board of appeals in Ossining, New York, before moving to Myrtle Beach.
“The seller and buyer are the only two to benefit from this,” he said. “I’m worried you’re going to set a precedent and others will jump on the bandwagon.”
Clemmons explained much of the nine acres is currently undeveloped and his family had used it as farmland for horses. But, he said, his children grew up and his last horse died so the family has decided to sell the land.
A sliver of the property faces 17th Avenue South and it is currently zoned for commercial use. Clemmons pointed out the density for the land facing 17th Avenue South will decrease in density if the rezoning request is approved.
Zoning administrator Kenneth May said the state Department of Transportation owns Highway 15 and they will be responsible for any traffic concerns that come up as a result of the property development.
“It’s going to be more than 300 vehicles coming out of there,” Orndorff said. “That’s a safety issue for us. It’s already a lot of traffic at the intersection on 15 and 17th avenue.”