Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The Georgetown County Planning Commission approved the development of two more clusters of the South Causeway Planned Development last week.
County planning staff told commission members that the developer has named the shopping center, which sits on U.S. Highway 17 at the South Causeway, Pawleys Market.
Under the terms of the original planned development, the developer must get approval before beginning work on each cluster.
These are the third and fourth clusters to be approved by Planning Commission this year. Georgetown County Council already approved the first two clusters and will likely vote on the latest two at its July meeting.
Much of the discussion at last week’s meeting centered around landscaping at the site.
Commission chairman Brian Henry called the island “our beloved Pawleys,” and said he wants to make sure the new shopping center is “Pawleys worthy.”
He wanted the commission to include landscaping requirement in its recommendation to County Council.
Steve Strickland from Earthworks Group, who was representing the property owner, First South Bank, said the landscaping won’t be finalized until the developer submits final plans. He told Henry the county’s landscaping requirements for parking lots were already pretty strict, and asked that no more requirements be placed on the development.
The county requires 10 percent of a parking lot be landscaped, with half of the landscaping around the perimeter, and one shade tree for every 10 parking spaces.
County planning director Boyd Johnson said First South has agreed to put trees in front of the Lowes Food store, which will be the anchor of Pawleys Market, to “soften the appearance of the glass.”
“We don’t really want to see a crape myrtle because that’s not really a shade tree,” Johnson said.
Pawleys Island Mayor Bill Otis could not attend the meeting, but sent a statement that was read by Mike Adams.
Otis said the Lowes will be the first building of its size in the Waccamaw Neck Commercial Corridor Overlay Zone and will set a precedent for all others to come, especially the ones planned for the nearby Pawleys Plaza.
He urged the Planning Commission to use the Piggly Wiggly in Litchfield as an example of successful landscaping, where many trees block much of the view from the highway.
“I wish we had the live oaks the Piggly Wiggly has,” Strickland said.
First South plans to keep what few live oaks there are on property, Strickland said, and put a vegetative buffer along Highway 17.
Henry and Otis also expressed concerns about stormwater runoff that could end up in nearby Pawleys Creek.
Johnson said due to the county’s updated stormwater rules, the developer will no longer be required to use pervious pavement on the entire site.
In his statement, Otis said he believed even with retention ponds, runoff will eventually make its way into the creek
“We appreciate any and all you can do,” Henry told Strickland. “It is vitally important.”
• The Planning Commission approved rezoning 2.21 acres on U.S. Highway 17 Bypass at Carson Avenue in Murrells Inlet from “planned development” to “general commercial.”
The property was rezoned to “planned development” in 2006 but never developed.
• County Planning staff has begun the process of strengthening regulations regarding off-site parking.
While common along restaurant row in Murrells Inlet, problems arose when Sunbelt Ventures tried to use off-site parking rules to its advantage to get a 119,500-square-foot store approved outside the overlay zone.
Staff was looking for recommendations from the Planning Commission that they could turn into formal changes that would be advertised and subject to a future public hearing.
In his statement, Otis said a correctly worded ordinance would have “saved us all a lot of trouble and expense.”
All recommendations by the Planning Commission still need approval by County Council.
Commission chairman Brian Henry, vice chairman Elizabeth Krauss and members Norma Guest, Marvin Neal and Lee Shoulette were in attendance at the meeting.
It was Shoulette’s first meeting.
By Chris Sokoloski
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