|Recent news story about The Prince Resort at the Cherry Grove Pier Project...
March 12. 2006 12:45PM
The Associated Press
Critics say legislators trying to help a condominium project add a pool to their beachfront project could undo nearly two decades of regulations intended to limit development and protecting public beach access.
Rep. Dwight Loftis, R-Greenville; Rep. Bill Witherspoon, R-Conway and Rep. Nelson Hardwick, R-Surfside Beach are pushing a bill to allow the project to have an aboveground pool at a 17-story condominium project at the Cherry Grove fishing pier in North Myrtle Beach.
People buying the north myrtle beach condos have been told pools will be part of the project. But the pool would be on the ocean side of a line where building is restricted.
"This may be the only place in Horry County that would ever need this," Hardwick said. "We're just trying to accommodate an old family that is doing a project."
Elizabeth Hagood, chairwoman of the Department of Health and Environmental Control board, says that's the wrong reason to change the law. A House subcommittee is scheduled to debate the legislation Tuesday.
"Clearly, there is no overwhelming public need for this," she said. "This is for special interests."
The state's 1988 beach management act strictly limits what can be built close to the ocean.
South Carolina has learned lessons about building too close to the surf and should not change the 1988 law now, says Bill Eiser, a DHEC coastal regulator.
"It doesn't make sense from a long-term management strategy to allow something to go closer to the beach than what we've been doing," Eiser said.
Those 1988 limits were set after unusually high tides on Jan. 1, 1987, washed out dozens of pools and decks from Myrtle Beach to Charleston and brought millions of dollars in damage. The law was intended to move new development back from the seashore.
Pools that remain from before the change now jut onto the beach at Garden City and elsewhere, forcing governments to spend millions to widen beaches and prevent waves from slamming seawalls and pool decks at high tide.
The change Hardwick and others want could allow more new oceanfront pools and that could block public access at high tide and make erosion worse, critics say.
The push for the change comes as DHEC sees its coastal regulations under attack elsewhere:
- Legislators want DHEC to process permits faster. Loftis says the agency is too slow and is seeking a Legislative Audit Council review of DHEC's permitting process.
- A carefully crafted agreement between real-estate agents and conservationists to protect isolated wetlands by requiring permits to fill them could unravel after legislators questioned it last week.
- The Legislature may reject rules limiting construction of bridges to salt marsh islands, mostly in Charleston and Beaufort counties.
Hagood, a conservationist, is worried about the new pressure from the Legislature as coastal growth continues and development pressures rise.
"We have special interests trying to infiltrate and undermine our coastal zone program," Hagood said. "It is driven by money and greed. It is not driven out of the desire to protect the public interest or our natural resources."
Note: Not so. The Prince Resort Myrtle Beach will be the best thing that ever happened to Cherry Grove Beach and will turn the whole section around from the run-down look it's always had. The Cherry Grove Pier is probably the only reason Cherry Grove even has tourists. A pool won't change anything that isn't already there. This is one of the finest North Myrtle Beach condo developments ever designed.
Labels: condos for sale, myrtle beach condos, new condos, prince resort myrtle beach