This Thursday, September 20th, it is important that everyone comes to the Georgetown County Planning Commission Public Hearing at the Waccamaw High School auditorium. Most of this regularly scheduled hearing will be dedicated to the question of re-zoning the parcels included in the Sunbelt Developers big box store Planned Development. If you wish to speak to the Planning Commissioners for up to three minutes, come early to sign up prior to the hearing, 5 p.m. at the latest. There are additional zoning requests on their agenda, but this one will be the first; if you wish to leave before the entire hearing is over, please do so quietly.
We at Don’t Box The Neck wish to convey that we expect everyone to be peaceful and respectful of the due process of law which this represents. This hearing is the first step in the zoning change process required by our County to allow this project to happen or not. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the Planning Commission members will take the recommendation made by the Planning Department along with public and other input. If you wish to read the Planning Department’s report ahead of time, it is on our website, DontBoxTheNeck.com; it will not be read at the hearing. Input may be limited due to volume and time restraints.
After the input period, the Planning Commission will take a vote. This vote will represent their recommendation to County Council, and will be either: 1) vote to defer, asking for more information from the developer or other sources; 2) vote to recommend approval to County Council with or without modifications or 3) vote to not recommend approval of the project to County Council.
Once the Planning Commissioners have voted, all is not done. The next step is to attend the second meeting of County Council following this vote. This County Council meeting will be a public hearing also, and County Council will vote on this project. It is very important that everyone attends this meeting as well; County Council can vote to either: 1) accept the recommendation of the Planning Commission or 2) reverse the decision made at the Planning Commission hearing. This vote will be the crucial one.
Don’t Box The Neck will keep you updated regarding meetings and information via our website DontBoxTheNeck.com, our Facebook page, direct mail and newspaper. The Don’t Box The Neck volunteers will be at the Waccamaw High School auditorium no later than 4:30 p.m. Thursday the 20th; we’ll be wearing green T-shirts. We look forward to seeing you in green as well, but we’ll have something green for you just in case. Be there. Be heard.
Don’t Box The Neck
Pawleys Plaza Plan
You have an opportunity to provide a great service for all your readers in Waccamaw - and, maybe even increase your readership and circulation … a report on the controversy surrounding the “Pawleys Plaza Plan”.
On the first day I learned about the “invasion of Walmart”, I received an emotion-laden “protest email”, urging me to take action against this project. It was professionally prepared and apparently had been sent to a large number of people. Since then I have seen: letters to the editor in local papers; posters at the local stores/supermarkets; and, just today, professionally produced road-side signs stuck beside the highways.
All these are fervently against this “invasion of the Godless merchant.” All I know is that these are not (as positioned) the acts of just local residents and soccer moms, but from some well-organized group that appears adequately-funded.
On the other side, I have heard very little about Sunbelt Ventures, Walmart (the rumored invader) or the Planning Commission who apparently are in favor of the project. Consequently, I have no information as to why they think the project is a good idea.
You should provide your readers with an in-depth, objective investigation of this issue, explaining the real identities of both sides; their true motivations; and, the human and economic trade-offs. I plan to attend the meeting on the 20th of September and would like to be far better informed. I’m sure I’m not your only reader with this view.
Letter to Planning
As a degreed historian, I beseech you to consider what is being asked of you, namely to permit adulteration of an acknowledged accumulated heritage, namely, “America's first “country seaside resort” and offer us all better shopping. Live in a place rich in history, accumulated over 275 years, or have increased shopping convenience. Even considering grandiose projects that risk ruination of our communal regional history is highly unwarranted and grossly irresponsible.
Many planning boards have disregarded input from Historical Commissions at their communities' direct losses to protect similar intangible, intrinsic elements, which “make up who and what we are as communities.” Our culture is well defined. Those who seek to “mine” investments to the max, are literally everywhere, but tourist attractions and “better than nice” places to live are not.
An owner from “elsewhere,” without regard for us, this region, history, lifestyle or local culture asks you to satisfy his greed desires at our expense. The fact that you are even considering agreeing with disrespects us all. Residents clearly speak, “No boxes ever. Vote as though your jobs depend upon it.
Gargantuan “In your face” commercial entities are “sore thumbs.” They will cause traffic problems and negative impact on property values.
“The Hammock Coast feel” is all that is Pawleys, and is our claim to fame. Respect it, please. Some say Pawleys has seen better days and now looks like everywhere else; while we agree that a lack of attention to setbacks, permissive signage regulations and a definitive lack of planning with an eye towards aesthetics along Route 17 has indeed led to distractions from the overall beauty of our town's center, “all those issues are correctable.” Do help make Pawleys more attractive, please.
Question: “How is it that the Georgetown Board of Tourism is able to justify massive monetary outlays developing and nationally marketing the “Hammock Coast” branding, when Georgetown County Council and Planning Commissions are, on the very opposite hand, able to gamble away the very substance of the underlying attraction itself? You can't have it both ways.
Have you all done due diligence with Georgetown County's new Director of Tourism about the impact of this project? Can “any notions associated with “attracting more tourism ever be made in the same context with the hassles created by bringing a box store to town?” Box stores are at exact other end of the spectrum with any images conjured up by the words “Hammock Coast.”
Are the Commissioners willingly going to sacrifice Pawleys’ hard-earned status as one of National Geographic “Top Ten Vacation Spots in the World,” succumbing to the lure of tax income and sales tax revenues at the expense of Pawleys property values? Don't approve outlandish land use propositions to appease selfish private business interests?
“Why not consider Pawleys in the same terms as the surrounding state parks? Treat it as a beneficial and integral middle ground, a part of the Neck consisting of Brookgreen, HBSP, Vanderbilt properties, Arcadia Plantation and Baruch's Hobcaw to the Waccamaw River. Think of Pawleys as connective tissue; as a last vestige that people can flock to experience “a slower pace and gentler time.” Pawleys beckons visitors from everywhere to come back for a respite and retreat.
The noticeably increasing 24/7 tractor traffic on Route 17 concerns us too. “During what hours was their survey conducted?” Arcelor employs Heritage and Liberty trucking 24/7 to shuttle raw materials from Port of Wilmington, NC. Locals are alarmed as “the late night hours are roaring to life” with overloaded 14 wheelers, whose desire is to escape purview of DOT. A box store will only serve to increase truck traffic misery and will certainly depress property values as well.
Robert and Linda Dimesky
Recently, I read an article in your paper, The Georgetown Times, concerning the GCSD Board’s deliberation on ending prayer at school-affiliated functions. First, I would like to thank you for making this issue known publicly. When I read this, I was overwhelmed with grief.
I, Weston Burgess Jr., Pastor of the New Light Missionary Baptist Church along with my church family, am appealing to other area pastors to make your voices heard as we stand against this gruesome policy to end prayer at school affiliations. God has charged every Christian, especially pastors, to stand on the truth of His Word. Remember, in 1962, Madeline Murray O’Hare succeeded in her attempts to end prayer in public schools. I sincerely believe that because we didn’t stand as one body united in Christ, we allowed her to win.
Now, we are faced with another attempt to defame Christian values by the ACLU declaring it is unconstitutional to pray at school meetings, games, graduations, etc. We must take a stand against the wiles of Satan who has now transformed himself in this arena.
I urge all readers and concerned Christians to take a stand. If we don’t, this will end in another thread being ripped from our country that has been said to be founded on Christian values.
Pastor Weston Burgess Jr.
About the presidency
I will cast my vote to re-elect President Obama because:
l. His equal pay for equal work guarantees that my granddaughters won’t be discriminated against in the work place.
2. Obamacare keeps my grandkids on their parent’s health insurance until they are 26 years of age.
3. Because of Obamacare my family and all other families can’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing condition or have an insurance company cap placed on the amount paid for a condition.
4. Pell grants that helped my kids through college will be available for my grandkids.
5. The President is taking money from insurance company subsidies to ensure that senior’s benefits will not be cut.
6. The President ordered the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
7. We have a viable and profitable car industry because of the President.
8. He is getting rid of the 3.7 trillion dollar debt resulting from the two wars he inherited by bringing our troops home.
9. The President is assuring through regulations that the greedy banks don’t pull another financial collapse.
10. The President supports the right of women to make their own decisions about the health of their bodies without government mandates and/or laws.
11. The President got rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
12. The President has created more private sector jobs during his first term than was created during all eight years of Bush.
In closing, I am voting for the President’s re-election because he believes that in order to be a responsible member of the American society you should be committed to passing on the opportunities that you have been fortunate enough to enjoy to others who are seeking and deserving of those same dreams, same aspirations and same chances of a good and productive life.
Killings in Libya
The Muslim extremists have struck the United States again. This incident has resulted in the deaths of our Ambassador to Libya and three embassy officials. At the same time, the United States embassy in Cairo, Egypt is attacked by another mob of Muslim extremists. Oh, all this occurred on the anniversary of another Muslim extremist attack, namely, 9/11.
The immediate response from our State Department for this heinous act was to apologize to the Muslim murderers about religious intolerance and bigotry on the part of the United States. Catholics, Protestants, and Jews are depicted constantly in the most disgusting and obscene manner by the entertainment and artistic industries. Do we riot in the streets and wantonly murder who we think are committing these anti-religious and offensive actions? Of course not. All we do is keep our resentment in check.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton issued a strong condemnation of speech such as the offensive film that denigrates religious beliefs. I hope they realize they are denigrating the First Amendment protection of free speech no matter how offensive it may be. By applying their own logic — if they find any person’s speech offensive, then that person must shut up.
Mitt Romney took a harder stand over the violent incidents against our embassies in Benghazi and Cairo. The inept administration and our nation’s left-leaning media criticized him for taking a hard stand over the violence and murders. As a citizen and as a Presidential candidate Mr. Romney has every right and obligation to express his outrage.
When will the United States stop tolerating these terror attacks and murders of our citizens? President Obama was in Las Vegas doing what he does best — begging for campaign funds.
It is about time our government begins to realize that Islamic extremists are barbarians who have no respect for human life. The only way to deal with barbarians is through overwhelming force. Yes, the United States, as a Judeo-Christian nation, abhors war and the subsequent killing.
The Progressive-Liberal career foreign policy decision-makers in our federal government better put a stop to these atrocities committed by the Muslim extremists. If they do not get this under control now we face a far more horrible future, a future with a nuclear armed Iran who could give a nuclear device to a terror organization.
Think about it, not all nuclear devices need a missile delivery system. The nuclear device only needs to be loaded onto a boat/ship, sailed near a target coastline, Israel or the United States comes to mind, and then detonated. It is the ultimate suicide bomber attack and there is no shortage of volunteers in the extremist world.
The U.S. must deal with these attacks now or deal with them when it is too late. The number one problem is that we cannot negotiate with extremists. Thus far, President Obama and his inept Secretary-of-State response to this latest act-of-war has been weak and tepid. Do you expect much improvement from them?
City of Georgetown
It is not unusual for residents of Georgetown to hear negative comments about our city leaders and the inner workings at City Hall. It is very easy to complain but you rarely hear compliments. This letter is to recognize these people for their incredible assistance and support.
The Georgetown Business Association (GBA) is sponsoring the inaugural Georgetown Rocks the Equinox Music Festival with all proceeds going to Tara Hall Home for Boys. This is a huge undertaking for a volunteer organization, and as a first time event, we are still learning the ins and outs of putting on a festival of this size.
We submitted our application to the City and within days our committee was asked to meet with the various department heads to coordinate the festival. To say that these people were a huge help is an understatement, each one offered suggestions and ideas to us and the support we were given in this meeting was beyond description. Each one offered us total support and assistance.
We were asked to meet again the week before the festival to finalize the details. Again, the tone of the meeting was “What can we do to help you make this a success?” We were all overwhelmed by the support we were shown.
I would like to thank Cindi Howard at City Hall for helping us put this together, for coordinating both meetings and for her almost daily assistance to me. She always responds to phone calls and e-mails and I never asked a question she couldn't answer. This festival would have never happened without her help.
Interim City Administrator Carey Smith has also been there for any question or concern and has provided assistance to the GBA on not only the festival but other matters as well. Georgetown is lucky to have Mr. Smith, even if it is for a limited time.
Police Chief Paul Gardner, Police Captain Nelson Brown and Fire Chief Joey Tanner have been invaluable to us from day one. The support and assistance we have received from these men has made a very difficult job much easier and has ensured that this festival will be an enjoyable and safe day for everyone.
Alan Loveless from the Electric Department, Lane Mixon from the Water Department, Will Cook from Engineering and Cindy Thompson from Keep Georgetown Beautiful have all gone above and beyond to help us and to make sure every base is covered.
The City of Georgetown has been an invaluable source of support and assistance to the GBA for the Music Festival and they deserve to be recognized. Too often these people toil in anonymity, and if you do hear anything it is unfortunately in a negative way. To all of you, a huge thank you for all you have done and for the support and assistance you have given us.
Al Joseph, president
Georgetown Business Association
John Brock has the answer
I’m writing on behalf of the citizens of Pawleys Island — who are obviously clueless about what is appropriate for our community — to thank John Brock for setting us straight in the September 6 edition of the Georgetown Times.
John’s erudition, obtained from groveling to the Big Guy in the Sky for endless hours each day, is the very antidote we seek for our inability to think for ourselves. While there are some apostates among us with the audacity to suggest that an empowered community should determine its own civic direction, we understand the limits to this approach. We appreciate that John speaks, on a daily basis, with the Final Authority. During a moment of foolish self-absorption, we neglected to take John’s divine wisdom into account in our deliberations. Our bad.
If Pawleys Island and the rest of the nation shared John’s clarity and appreciated his divine contacts as fully as we ought, we would surely choose him to make our important decisions for us. My bad again. I shouldn’t have said “choose” when choice is unneeded so long as John speaks with SkyMaster to probe for answers to our dilemmas.
But for the life of me, I am unable to comprehend why John’s Best Friend is so staunchly pro-Chinese (isn’t China the source of most of the products Walmart sells?) and so venomously anti-American. Not to worry. I’m confident John will let us know during his next scheduled pontification. Bless you, John, for helping us fathom the depth of our ignorance.
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