There was a full chamber for Monday’s North Myrtle Beach city council meeting as dozens of residents came to voice their opinions on the proposed 84-home Barefoot Lakes development on 61 acres.
The proposal was set to move forward as multiple ordinances were scheduled to go through first reading. Citing neighboring residents’ concerns about lot and house sizes, access roads and a short timeframe to review the revised plan for the housing development, city council moved to defer all the agenda items relating to the development and to schedule a second public workshop to refine the plan.
Instead of two access points to the community, the plans currently call for a single access point from Marsh Glen Drive. At the workshop held on Aug. 16, a representative for the project said the road width was widened from 50 feet to 100 feet to make the single entry point feasible.
Dennis Stamey, whose property would border the subdivision, said he is worried his property value will go down if the Barefoot Lakes development is approved as is.
Stamey’s lot is .75 acres — or 32,670 square feet — and his house is 2,200 square feet, according to Horry County land records. City documents state the average lot size for the Barefoot Lakes community would be 9,325 square feet with the largest being 29,165 square feet. Home sizes in Barefoot Lakes would range from 1,600 square feet to 2,838 square feet. The Barefoot Lakes development has a smaller average lot size than all but one (Tuscan Sands) of the eight nearby subdivisions.
“What they are proposing, in my opinion, are cracker boxes in terms of what is already there,” Stamey said. “The proposed development doesn’t come close to matching those dimensions. How will these smaller houses help my property value? How will it increase my standard of living?”
Councilman Trey Skidmore moved to defer the agenda items regarding the project.
“I personally still have a lot of concerns with the access, the lot sizes and the home sizes,” Skidmore said during the meeting. “I would like to defer this back to a workshop where the developer and staff can get together and spend some time to address these concerns.”
A date for the workshop has not been set yet.
During public comment, neighboring resident Randy Larson said he appreciates that the city is hosting another workshop to refine the plan, but was disappointed that there was only six minutes of public comment from two speakers allowed during the workshop. Mayor Marilyn Hatley said workshops are not meant to be a forum for public comment, but a chance for city council, city staff and representatives of the developer to refine the plan based on previous feedback.
“[Workshops] are not ever meant to be public comment,” Hatley said. “I have always allowed some public comment, but we will have public comment when we do the second public hearing.”
Following the meeting, Hatley said she thinks there are more people in support of the project than one might assume after listening to public comment during the council meeting.
“What we do is we listen to everybody, and of course when you’re in a meeting like this, you hear the negative. But there were a lot of people here tonight that were in favor of this development,” Hatley said. “In fact, the actual emails we are getting are running about half and half.”
Hatley said that with North Myrtle Beach and Horry County’s rapid growth, housing is needed, but she aims to make sure that resident concerns are heard and addressed when needed. She said that the city works back and forth with developers after hearing concerns from the public.
“We work back and forth. We listen and hear, and look, you’re not going to please everybody. Some just don’t want anything,” Hatley said. “But we listen to the majority of people and their concerns and we go back and work with the developers to address those concerns.”
Hatley said “we’re working through” the process and that she thinks a compromise will be able to be made to move the project forward.