Garden City residents debate possible parking lot rezoning

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    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Parking is a topic that has part of the Garden City community divided.

    As the number of vacationers continues to rise along the Grand Strand, older condos and high-rise hotels are running out of parking spaces.

    Bobby Streett, a realtor in Garden City, said they are quickly running out of options to add more spaces. The issue was brought up at the Horry County Planning Commission’s public hearing on Thursday.

    Surf Master by the Sea is requesting to rezone a .25-acre section of residential property on Hawes Avenue into a private parking lot for overflow seasonal parking. The location, however, has some surrounding residents concerned this could lower their property value.

    “Biggest thing we’re concerned about is hurting our property value,” said Donnie Christopher, chairman of the Summer Winds Homeowners Association.

    However, residents like Ott Pinkston who has been at Surf Master since 1993, sees things differently.

    “To believe that there will be more traffic on that little road or hurt their property value, because we’re paying a fortune for this place,” said Ott Pinkston, who sits on the Surf Master Board of Directors.

    Garden City residents both for and against the rezoning were able to voice their opinion in front of the planning commission who voted five to four, recommending to Horry County Council not to rezone this section of land on Hawes Avenue.

    “We were going to use the lot for Surf Master for overflow parking, for the second or third vehicle or motorcycle or trailers,” said Bobby Streett.

    Streett has worked in Garden City for 15 years and has seen the issue of parking get worse each summer. He said the parking lot would only be used for about three months and believes they can work with the residents over their concerns.

    “Everything on that list that they complained about, and there were about five items, we feel we could address effectively,” said Streett.

    “More traffic on Hawes. It’s a big-time deal, there are kids running out the road, it just seems to me that 32 spaces is just a Band-Aid,” said Christopher.

    Residents also voiced their concerns about endangering wildlife and increased traffic along the roadway where many families vacation.

    Surf Master did add more parking outside the parking garage but lost about 20 spaces, according to residents, after the addition of a bike path on North Waccamaw.

    Bobby said Surf Master needs about 80 additional parking spaces and wants to be good neighbors to the community. However, there seems to be no other options or land available.

    “Is taking care of 40 of those a Band-Aid? That’s a matter of interpretation,” said Streett.

    Streett believes some type of solution to the issue is better than not adding additional parking and said there is no other land available to them within 500 feet of the Surf Master.

    The plans will still go in front of Horry County Council despite the planning commission’s vote against rezoning.

    From there, the rezoning request will go through three readings and another public hearing in the coming weeks.

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