Why North Myrtle Beach?

North Myrtle Beach is a model community striving to demonstrate livable, sustainable principles through projects, plans, and policy:

  • Little River Neck Special Study Area:  Little River Neck is an area recommended for special study within the City’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan Update.  With over 3,000 acres of undeveloped and vacant property owned by Coastal Carolina University (CCU), a private development company, and the family of the original owner, this area warrants detailed and careful future land use and policy considerations.  The City is currently competing for a 2010 EPA Smart Growth implementation grant to study potential growth impacts on the “Neck.” The study’s primary goal is to utilize EPA experience to supplement city, county, and CCU expertise in facilitating important public outreach activities and preparing several alternate future development and transportation policy scenarios.
  • Low Impact Design (LID): City Council is interested in developing a comprehensive policy to address water quality and stormwater management. LID is an integrated, green infrastructure-based approach to natural resource protection, stormwater management, and site design that can be used to further protect the city’s unique and vital natural resources from the negative impacts of land development and nonpoint source pollution. In step with national trends, the focus of LID models is to shift stormwater management efforts from post-construction practices to the prevention of runoff and poor water quality.
  • City’s Tree Planting Master Plan: First created in 1999, the plan serves as a guide to tree planting and future tree preservation efforts in the city. The plan is used to stimulate community awareness, pride, and involvement in the City’s tree planting program.  Future use of this plan may include phased implementation of site specific tree planting plans on public properties, guidelines for construction of commercial and residential properties by developers and other private properties, and possible integration with the city’s site plan review process.
  • Complete Streets Ordinance: Since 2008, all streets in the city have been required to be designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities must be able to safely move along and across a “complete street.” Cross-access is required and cul-de-sacs are very restricted. Street design standards include sidewalks on both sides, street trees planted at the back of curb, and crosswalks. Block lengths cannot exceed six hundred (600’) feet. Complete street design guidelines accompany the ordinance.
  • Beach Management Plan: In accordance with the State Beachfront Management Act, the City of North Myrtle Beach is actively preparing an updated Beach Management Plan in coordination with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (DHEC-OCRM). The city’s local comprehensive beach management plan represents considerable effort, inventory, and deliberation on the part of the city, and establishes a strategy for the sustainable management of the beach and dune system for residents and visitors to enjoy. The Beach Management Plan is intended to be incorporated into the State Beachfront Management Plan in accordance with the provisions of the State Beachfront Management Act.
  • Golf Cart Transportation Plan: Reacting to City Council’s direction, the planning staff is presently working on a comprehensive golf cart transportation plan. Golf carts have increasingly become used by many in the community as a primary means of transportation; however, adequate and dedicated lanes have not been allocated for users. A plan will help define unique opportunities for better incorporation of golf carts as part of the transportation and circulation system for City residents and visitors.
  • 2010 Comprehensive Plan Update: The South Carolina State Planning Enabling Act of 1994 requires local governments who adopt land use controls such as zoning and subdivision/land development regulations to develop and maintain a planning process. One aspect of this process is adoption of a “Comprehensive Plan” every ten years which provides the “blueprint or vision” for directing and planning the future of the community. The Planning Commission is charged with recommending a plan to the local elected governing body.  In addition, every five years local governments must develop a process to review, re-evaluate, and update the Plan. The City of North Myrtle Beach adopted the current Comprehensive Plan on May 2, 2005, establishing a deadline of May 2, 2010 for completing the update.The seven elements required by the state when the City adopted its 2005 Plan were Population, Housing, Economic, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, Land Use, and Community Facilities. The SC Priority Investment Act of 2007 amended the Planning Enabling Act to require two new elements in local plans. The Priority Investment and Transportation elements are required to be included during the first five year Plan update process. The Priority Investment and Transportation elements join the Land Use and Community Facilities Elements as the four elements that must remain current to legally support the City’s Land Development and Zoning regulations.City planning staff and the Planning Commission worked on the re-evaluation and update of the Comprehensive Plan beginning in the spring of 2009 to meet this deadline. The process was more involved than the typical five year Plan update, as the Planning Commission was also charged with meeting the new requirements of the Priority Investment Act. City Council adopted the 2010 Comprehensive Plan Update on second reading of ordinance April 26, 2010.
  • Main Street Transformed Redevelopment:: A concept plan was produced and presented to City Council in November 2009 that would enhance the Main Street corridor by illustrating public right-of-way improvements, and suggestions for private property redevelopment. Key elements of transforming Main Street are; creating an attractive entry, new street furniture and pedestrian-scaled lighting, wider sidewalks, increased landscaping and tree canopy, planting flower boxes and hanging flower baskets, frame the streetscape through a form-based design code.
  • Traditional Neighborhood District (TND) Overlay Zone Ordinance: Approved in 2008, Section 23-31, Overlay zones, of the Zoning Ordinance, explains the purpose of the TND District Overlay is to “encourage traditional neighborhood development and provide incentives to help create a walkable neighborhood.” The TND District Overlay assists by providing an increased range of options over conventional zoning, such as reduced setbacks and predictable design standards.For example, reduced setbacks help to better-define orientation, scale, and massing of future homes relative to the adjacent roadways. Furthermore, the city’s complete streets policy, requiring street trees, sidewalks, multipurpose paths, continuation of adjoining streets, and cross-access connections, will contribute to a walkable neighborhood. Section 20-42, Blocks, of the Land Development Regulations, manages form by limiting block lengths in traditional neighborhood developments.
  • Small Wind Energy Systems Ordinance: Adoption of this ordinance occurred in April of this year. The purpose of this ordinance is to oversee the permitting of small wind energy systems and to protect public health and safety without significantly increasing the cost or decreasing the efficiency of a small wind energy system.