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Pawleys Plaza: Council urged to sweat the small stuff

  • Friday, January 25, 2013

  • Updated Monday, September 23, 2013 10:49 am

The redevelopment of Pawleys Plaza got final approval from Georgetown County Council this week, but not before several pleas for the county to be mindful of the details.
Pawleys Island Mayor Bill Otis wants the developer, Sunbelt Ventures of Mount Pleasant, to have different elevations of the three main buildings that total nearly 110,000 square feet. He’s worried that a continuous roof line would make it look like a big-box store, which is what the community was so opposed to.
Otis also said the requirement of a Level 3 landscape buffer, which includes trees 3 inches in diameter, is insufficient. He said those trees would look like “matchsticks” in front of a 35-foot tall building.
Waccamaw Neck resident Tom Stickler wants the county to make sure Sunbelt builds the homes that are shown on its site plan. A Supreme Court ruling requires Planned Developments to have mixed uses.
Linda Ketron, founder of Bike the Neck, said she didn’t realize a planned bike path at the site was “swept off the table” at second reading.
Sunbelt does not own the Bank of America property, and removed the LaPlaya property from the original plan, so it couldn’t guarantee it could build a path across those properties.
Ketron reminded Council members that one of the reasons that Bike the Neck was started nearly two decades ago was so Parkersville residents could uses their bicycles to ride to a grocery store that used to be located in Pawleys Plaza.
She said it would be “a very sad irony” if the reason the path was put together originally doesn’t include the new development.
Council also gave final approval to an agreement to develop a joint industrial and business park with Horry County.
The 56.83-acre site is near the intersection of Highways 14 and 90.

In other business:

• Council hired R.H. Moore Co. of Murrells Inlet to complete a two-phase stormwater project to improve drainage in the Hagley area of Pawleys Island.
R.H. Moore bid $252,700 for phase one and $267,000 for phase two.
All the rights-of-way for the work in phase one have been obtained, but not for phase two.
Public Services Director Ray Funnye said phase one was the “most critical” part of the project and he was confident the county would eventually have all the rights-of-way.
• Council approved spending $401,329 to upgrade 911 telephone equipment.
The equipment in the county Emergency Communications Center was purchased in 2008 from Verizon Telephone. The equipment and the computer software are now outdated.
The county will purchase the new equipment from Frontier Communications and sign a five-year maintenance contract with the company.
The expenditure was not budgeted but the funding will come from the Emergency Telephone Fund, and some of it will be reimbursed by the state. The county’s final cost is expected to be $120,398.
• Council gave second reading to an ordinance prohibiting businesses from displays products in rights-of-way.
Planning Director Boyd Johnson said his department received complaints from residents, especially about car dealerships parking vehicles for sale near roads.
After these complaints, county staff realized that the issue was not addressed in any ordinances.
“If somebody does refuse to work with us we can have some teeth in our ordinance,” Johnson said.
County Administrator Sel Hemingway and Council Member Austin Beard both questioned why the county should restrict product placement, when it allows people to park in rights-of-way.
The only change to the proposed ordinance before the vote was the removal of a requirement that products be placed 10 feet from side property lines.
• John Meehan was reappointed to the Georgetown County Airport Commission.
Meehan, who is currently chairman of the commission, will now serve until March 15, 2017.

By Chris Sokoloski
csokoloski@gtowntimes.com

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