“When will city government start working for the will of the people versus the will of their political insiders?” asked Veril Anderson
Legendary basketball coach, John Wooden is famously quoted as saying, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.“
Yesterday, Myrtle Beach Mayor, City Manager, and City Council bowed to the whims of developer Dock Street Communities. Changing the 20 year Market Common master plan eliminated a 100 space public parking lot that has been in the master plan since 2005/07. These changes were made in favor of an insider developer for the construction of more single family homes. While the profits from home sales will go directly into the pockets of Dock Street Communities, the master plan change does nothing to relieve the parking spaces lost to the residents in the neighborhood.
“As the world has changed, plans change and (we) need to evolve to match the market,” said David Wilkes, of Dock Street Communities. “We do not see much in movement in the way of town homes and live-work town homes compared to single family homes.”
However, people who already live in The Market Common said this is not what they signed up for when they moved in. “The total number of parking spaces just keeps going down, and everybody keeps telling me ‘yeah, we have a parking issue’, but nobody is really doing anything about it,” said Phil Pecora. Pecora owns Toffino’s Italian Bakery & Deli in The Market Common. Toffino’s is one of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood and a city wide local favorite establishment.
Unfortunately, those new Market Common home purchasers still have no idea how powerful and how much influence Dock Street Communities consultant David Stradinger has with the City of Myrtle Beach. Those who did know about Mr. Stradinger realized this deal was pre-approved before it ever met an official vote. Stradinger serves on the very critical Downtown Redevelopment board with members of Burroughs and Chapin, as well as, owners of Brittain Resort Management. The Mayor and the controversial Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce have been in league with this group in an effort to pass a tax increase on local merchants downtown and bring in millions of Chinese investments that would completely overhaul the entire downtown area. Stradinger is truly the insider’s insider.
“If Stradinger wanted Emmens Preserve burned to the ground, he could get it approved overnight,” said one property owner of the Myrtle Beach Super Block.
Brittain Resort Hotels, a long time Stradinger ally, has been one of the largest contributors to the Mayor’s pet project at Market Common, Savannah’s Playground. The Mayor himself bought space on an area billboard just north of Market Common on Highway 17 recently thanking the Brittain Family for their large donation.
Brittain Resort Hotels owned and managed the Beach Vacations office at Market Common until last August of 2015. An attempt by Beach Vacations was made (in concert with Stradinger and Dock Street Communities) to require Market Common homeowners to add to their deed an addendum for perpetual HOA dues for the large pool built just west of the Piggly Wiggly [built by Beach Vacations]. This act would have given Brittain Resort Hotels considerable control of the community overall with very little investment by the corporation. When homeowners realized the attempt at what amounted to a hostile takeover of the entire Market Common neighborhood, Beach Vacations was asked to vacate the premises and close the office onsite.
While the office is permanently closed, Brittain Resort Hotels still uses the location as an “operating” office on Google Maps for maps search engine optimization for their property management rentals at Myrtle Beach Resort. Despite continual complaints by tourists with ongoing reports to Google about the misleading information, the property management firm has yet to correct the information online. Market Common residents can view the fictitious listing here as Myrtle Beach Resort by Beach Vacations with a Market Common Address (3rd down). It is listed as Myrtle Beach Resort in the search engine algorithm, for those who wish to do an online search.
AD HOC CITY PLANNING
“I don’t know that anybody expected it to boom as fast as it did. I think they had more of a twenty year plan, but in ten years, they’ve achieved phenomenal growth,” said City Myrtle Beach Planning Director Carol Coleman about the Market Common Community. “Once those parcels are developed, then we definitely will have to look at some other options for creating parking areas outside of the downtown proper,” said Coleman.
Several Market Common residents we spoke with believe the inside developers will continue to get their wishes met first and foremost. It appears plans for parking will now be done AD HOC and at the will of the insider developers as the carefully crafted master plan was jettisoned by council’s first reading yesterday. “When will city government start working for the will of the people versus the will of their political insiders?” asked Veril Anderson, a local resident whose family has generationally lived in the area for over 120 years.