As residents and business owners in Pawleys Island, we are alarmed that the elected officials could vote to allow opportunistic development of an obtrusive and out of place box store to the detriment of our town and its residents.
PI’s “character and flavor” is worth defending as it has been the town’s major claim to fame from its earliest to modern times. Even if, according to some, it has been a bit “scarred” by lack of attention to setbacks, signage regulations, etc., it is to this writer’s mind’s eye a really beautiful place we call home.
I cite a zoning application from our former residency in Simsbury, CT that is similar to our present situation; Stop & Shop, a New England grocery chain, applied for a zoning waiver to expand its 145,000 sq. ft premises to include a gas station in its parking lot, to be placed adjacent to one of the town’s foremost historical attractions, an area that greeted visitors to our town. Dating to 1640 Simsbury’s prideful history and image were critically important to its residents. We were not convinced that its image was worth sacrificing to profit and convenience.
The chain spent hard and worked harder convincing us of the benefits, lower pricing and convenience, the facts bore out that no convenience was to be had at all, as there were already 6 gas stations at the intersection 650’ away. The chain simply wanted a gas station to drive out competition and bolster profits. Their lawyers erred as they underestimated the “will of the people” who mustered formidable forces in the rigorous defense to preserve the culture and quaint country flavor. A high turnout and a rousing barrage of appeals provided the basis for a resounding victory. The ZBA honored the citizens.
Sound familiar? We now call upon our elected officials to respect our rights to decide our own fate; the right to install prohibitions on box stores forever. It is wrong for our community.
Be Careful what you ask for. Don’t jeopardize something we cannot retrieve; our “laid-back, low country seashores” are tangible selling points needing to be preserved. These attractions have lured families to return yearly, some for generations. The lure of this seaside community has brought home buyers and high property values. Is it worth sacrificing property values too? Maybe it is, if you don’t own property.
Those in favor of “taking a shot” allowing Walmart in hopes of bringing prosperity and jobs need to consider: What cements your heart to Pawleys Island? The memories of quaint, quiet, good food, relaxation and fun have literally defined Pawleys Island since its beginnings. Images conjuring up a slower and gentler time, a less altered way of life, encourage people from “everywhere else” suffering from hectic paces, crime and claustrophobia to seek out and look longingly forward to their annual sojourn to our serene shores. Once gone, that special “appeal” will be gone forever!
Willingness to sacrifice Parleys’ stunning status as one of National Geographic “Top Ten Vacation Spots in the World” simply to appease a developer sniffing out a financial windfall via a foreclosure is very short-sighted. Naturally greedy, Walmart seeks any opportunity to maintain tax shelters realized directly from continuous expansion, and systematically eliminating competing retailers at any cost, even if it means forcing their way into communities where they are neither needed nor wanted.
Please veto applications requesting an increase in store footprint size. Furthermore, restrict this developer’s use to that which is currently permitted by law. The current angst forced upon residents and local business owners is a painful reminder of oversights; ordinances that require “meaningful fortification” to reflect the way people wish our community to be, now and in the future.
We respectfully hope you exercise courage by respecting the will of the residents who live, work and play, among you.
Robert and Linda Dimesky
Re: How did I miss this …?
A letter to the Editor in Wednesday’s Times asked some very good questions; “… we could be welcoming a mini-warehouse to Pawleys. How did that happen?”, “… how did I miss the proposals regarding the new Dollar Store?”.
One quick answer, you weren’t at County Council meetings paying attention to what is going on in your community and county.
With a population of around 60,000 people and a few feral cats, many of these issues are dealt with by Council with fewer than .0008 % of the population caring enough to attend a meeting. That would be 50 out of 60,000, and 50 would be a large attendance.
The only time that a large number of people attend a meeting, made 75, is when there is an organized effort to rally people in support of a single issue.
I try to attend most meetings and I can tell you that it is a boring ordeal, but that isn’t the fault of the Council. Short of Jerry Oakley dancing a jig or Sel telling a Carolina joke, I don’t know what could be done to spice it up — until a controversial issue arises. Then most of us wonder how it slipped by.
A wise soul told me that “Council is what it hears.” Is 50 out of 60,000 a loud voice?
To switch horses here, the hottest issue right now is the proposed $ 40,000,000 sales tax.
The next few weeks could prove to be the most pivotal time in the history of our nation. One which could decide whether this country turns toward a European socialist style of government or we remain as a true republic. It is that crucial. The economy of this nation could truly be turned on its head in a few weeks. Is now the time to spend $40,000,000 on anything? Why not wait until next year? It should not be a now or never situation. County Council should not have put us in the position of having to make this decision on these terms at this time. We can wait until our future is more secure.
Maybe next time the issue could be presented to us as “An investment in our community” and not as a new tax.
Avoid grave mistake
I have been a resident of Georgetown County all of my life and I have watched the county make some good choices and I have watched county officials make some terrible mistakes. This is an opportunity for the current County Council to avoid making a grave and long lasting mistake on the Waccamaw Neck.
Size matters and bigger is not better. The Waccamaw Neck is named so because it occupies a narrow strip of land between the Waccamaw River and the Atlantic Ocean. We are physically restrained and strongly affected by tides from the river on one side and the ocean on the other. Due to the relatively small size of our community we have only one main road for commercial development, Highway 17. Any and all development along our one road needs to fit within the natural confines of our limited space. A law is already in effect that limits the scale of development to 45,000 square feet for any commercial development on and along Highway 17 at Pawleys Island. It is imperative that County Council not bend these rules and allow oversized development into our small, very confined community.
The Pawleys Island community already suffers from serious traffic problems and flooding on Highway 17. The added impact on our one road and our confined community from a 120,000 square foot development will be devastating. (The proposed Sunbelt Ventures development is 120,000 square feet as compared to Fresh Market that is 21,000 square feet) Where is all of the runoff from these new buildings and parking lot going to go when there is a downpour and it is high tide? Judging from Wednesday, August 29th, that run off water will end up on our one road, Highway 17 causing even more flooding, traffic congestion and accidents.
Don't be fooled into the belief that this is good for Pawleys Island. The facts have been printed many times of the drain from a megastore on a small community. We at Pawleys should not want or need the strain on our roads, the tax on our drainage, or the devastation to our many small businesses.
A vote against the zoning changes proposed for Sunbelt Ventures megastore development by County Council may be a vote against the wishes of the County Administration but it is a vote for the betterment of a small community on the brink of devastating and irreversible change. This is an opportunity for Georgetown County Council to make a really good decision for Georgetown County.
Sharon Parker Turner
As a part time resident of the Pawleys/Litchfield area, I am opposed to having “big box” stores come into the area. However, this weekend I needed to buy ceiling fans and tried to give the business to two Pawleys area business that should have been able to handle my order, but could not. I ended up at the “big box” store in Murrells Inlet. My point is, if the merchants who put the “don’t box the neck” signs on their door are serious, they need to offer the products consumers need.
Notice about comments:
- Most Viewed
- Sampit shooting leads to attempted murder charges
- Andrews football coach resigns
- Georgetown police name robbery suspect
- Robbery at PI Bakery (Updated)
- Hilliard: Police have no evidence in The Krazy Fish case
- POLICE BLOTTER: Disturbing discovery
- Pizza Hut to return to Georgetown
- Three robberies, same MO, in three days
- POLICE BLOTTER: Civil War bomb found
- Obituaries, May 15, 2013