Post Tagged with: "Downtown Redevelopment Corporation"

Budget Time for Local Governments

March 21, 2017 1:02 PM
Budget Time for Local Governments

This week will see several local governments, particularly Myrtle Beach and Horry County, in budget workshops as next year’s revenue and spending is considered.

If you have never seen the local budget process in action, you should consider at least watching some of the workshop meetings on local cable television or live streaming on the internet.

After all, it’s your money they are spending and services for you they are supposed to be providing.

Much of the discussion will be on the agencies’ respective general funds. Those are the funds that pay for public safety, public works, administration and so forth.

For each agency, approximately 65% of general fund expenditures are for personnel pay and benefits.

However, the respective general funds are not the only budget areas that affect local citizens.

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority, which is a component unit of Horry County Government, is asking for a $7 per ton increase on the cost of dumping municipal solid waste (household garbage) at the Highway 90 landfill.

If county council approves a rise in the SWA MSW tipping fee, every household and business in the county will be paying more for garbage disposal.

The City of Myrtle Beach parking fees, which go to the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation and are currently helping fund the taking of businesses through the use of eminent domain, are a problem for all county residents.

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Myrtle Beach Superblock Plans Raise Questions

January 28, 2017 5:56 AM
Myrtle Beach Superblock Plans Raise Questions

Tuesday’s announcement by city officials that a library and children’s museum is being planned for the Superblock in downtown Myrtle Beach does not come without raising questions.

Over the past several months, mystery has surrounded contacts to property owners in the Superblock area from Metro Properties representing an “undisclosed buyer.”

Ostensibly the city attempted to maintain secrecy in order to keep property values from escalating, according to statements by several city officials.

Maybe, but this sounds like we haven’t heard the entire story so far. According to media reports, Mayor John Rhodes went out of his way to assure everyone that ‘sales have been made between willing buyers and willing sellers’ and ‘fair market prices have been accepted with willing buyers.’

Why the need to sound like ‘he doth protest too much?’

Another question – why is Chapin Library part of this grand city plan?

When the South Carolina General Assembly passed Home Rule legislation in 1975, it specifically made libraries a responsibility and function of county government. Chapin Library is a city owned library that pre-dates home rule, but has been the subject of discussions between city council and county council over the last decade, with the city looking to get out of the library business or, at least, have the county pick up the costs of running the library.

Now, in an apparent reversal, the city plans to build a new library with a line of credit backed by taxpayer dollars.

No one argues the Superblock is not a blighted area that needs redevelopment. One could argue things in that area haven’t changed much since the early 1990’s when then city council members allowed Burroughs and Chapin to hijack money targeted for downtown redevelopment and use it instead to build Broadway at the Beach.

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Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Lawsuit Pondered

August 11, 2016 5:46 AM
Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Lawsuit Pondered

A lawsuit against the City of Myrtle Beach for its paid parking areas along the oceanfront is being considered by property owners.

The basis of the lawsuit would be city violations of deed restrictions and covenants included in property transfers years ago.

Deeds from 1940 and 1968 in which Myrtle Beach Farms gave oceanfront property to the city include restrictions against commercial activity on the deeded property.

In the intervening years, some of that property has been converted to street ends and beach access on which the city now charges visitors to park.

According to a real estate attorney with considerable experience in the county, the deed restrictions do not go away on the portions of the property converted to public thoroughfares.

The deeds restrictions prohibit commercial activity by any “person, private corporation, municipal corporation or agency or instrumentality of government.” The land is specifically designated to be kept as a public park or common.

The city appears to violate these restrictions in several ways. The parking fees and fines are collected and disbursed by a private corporation contracted by city government. The city’s portion of the revenue goes to fund the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, an agency created by the city.

The DRC is its own challenged organization, having accomplished little in the way of redevelopment and virtually none in the city’s historic downtown in the area of City Hall, Five Points and adjacent areas.

The DRC has set its sights on the oceanfront and rumored major new development projects that would first require the squeezing out of small business owners currently operating along sections of Ocean Boulevard.

Many have speculated that the parking fees in question will help squeeze out small business owners by limiting tourist traffic to their businesses.

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Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Problems

July 28, 2016 6:11 AM
Myrtle Beach Parking Fee Problems

It is quite possible that Myrtle Beach City Council is collecting parking fees in areas that restrict such activity.

No, this is not about the federal grant for beach renourishment. It is potentially a lot more serious.

A review of deeds from 1940, 1968 and 1992, in which Myrtle Beach Farms gave land to the city along the oceanfront brought to light some interesting deed restrictions and covenants.

Most interesting is a restriction on all three deeds that says, “…property shall not be used for commercial purposes by any person, private corporation, municipal corporation or agency of government.”

Collecting fees to park is certainly a commercial purpose, especially when the city has seen fit to outsource the collection to a private, third party corporation.

Many of today’s street ends, especially in the south end of the city where parking fees have been charged for a number of years, came from land that was given to the city in these deeds.

The restriction on commercial activity appears to include the boardwalk area also.

Unfortunately, Myrtle Beach City Council is going to continue with its current practices until someone forces them to change through the courts. Remember the helmet law?

A lawsuit would be very interesting, however. Can you imagine the city having to refund parking fees it has collected for a number of years if it is established in court that the deed restrictions were violated?

This could have an obvious effect on the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation, an agency of dubious value, which uses parking fees for funding.

Another of the restrictions and covenants makes the possibility of a lawsuit interesting.

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Changes Needed From City Elections

November 1, 2015 5:55 AM
Changes Needed From City Elections

City elections in three local municipalities could bring much needed changes to the way those communities work for their citizens.

Those three communities are Conway, Atlantic Beach and Myrtle Beach.

Below, we have highlighted the candidates we believe are most likely to bring new ideas that will lead to much needed positive change for those municipalities.

Conway

Mayor and three council seats up for election.
City council member Barbara Blain-Bellamy is continuing to build momentum in her attempt to unseat incumbent Mayor Alys Lawson.
Blain-Bellamy is well known to Conway voters. She has been elected to city council three times and has led the ticket each time. This is not an outsider attempting to unseat an incumbent mayor.

Blain-Bellamy’s message of finding new ways to ward off the influence of gangs and crime in Conway’s neighborhoods and listening to the concerns of citizens throughout the city highlight her message.

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New Look for Myrtle Beach Pavilion Site?

April 20, 2013 10:00 AM
New Look for Myrtle Beach Pavilion Site?

Nearly seven years after the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park was torn down, a proposal has surfaced to bring rides back to the nearly vacant site.

According to recent media reports, Strates Shows of Orlando, FL is working with site owner Burroughs & Chapin, Inc. to open a three month, summer season carnival on a portion of the former Pavilion property.

On the surface, bringing rides back to that traditional downtown area of the oceanfront seems like a good idea. It always seemed a bad idea that former B&C president Doug Wendel wanted to do away with the Pavilion in the first place.

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