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Myrtle Beach residents want to limit where new gas stations can be built

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A proposed ordinance in Myrtle Beach would change where you can pump gas.

Geoff Kay lives on the north side of town and was part of the group that filed a petition against a gas station and 24-hour convenience store in the summer because of the station’s proximity to homes in the neighborhood. Now he and several of his neighbors are pushing for city-wide change.

The proposed ordinance, as written by Kay, would ban “gas pumps or underground storage … within 500 feet of any zoned residential land.”

“I think Myrtle Beach should be a city where residents should be able to separate their homes from the negative impacts of gas stations, including noise, pollutants, reduced property values ​​and commercial activity,” Kay said. “I think the city should look to the future and see this ordinance as a way to do it.”

Kay admitted at Tuesday’s Myrtle Beach Planning Commission meeting that his proposal was worded loosely and may be too broad. He stressed that he did not have a problem with existing gas stations but wanted to put limits on building new ones.

“I believe this is a good thing and a positive outcome for the residents of Myrtle Beach,” Kay said. “I don’t know how many gas stations are too many, but there are a lot of gas stations in the city. “

There are 32 gas stations in Myrtle Beach with two more located inside the donut holes within the city limits. If the proposed ordinance were to come into effect as written, all of these 34 stations would be non-compliant properties.

“So what you’re really asking is to eliminate gas stations in the town of Myrtle Beach, and I just don’t think we’re ready to do that,” said Zeb Thomas III, member of. the Planning Commission.

Commissioners have indicated where gas stations would be permitted under the proposal and said there were only three or four spots in the city that would allow compliant properties.

Kelly Mezzapelle, the city’s senior planner, warned of the financial consequences of the ordinance, adding that simply putting existing stations into the ordinance could lead to more problems down the line.

“It is very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain financing, a loan or a mortgage on non-conforming property, and they would not be allowed to extend the footprint of non-conforming use,” Mezzapelle said.

The commission agreed to take up the proposal again within a month after members had time to do more research. Several commissioners said they wanted to see scientific facts before making a decision.

Kay and her neighbors organized a online petition to garner support for the ordinance. To date, Kay said it has been signed by more than 400 people.