Prior to the Monday, Jan. 7, North Myrtle Beach City Council meeting, Council met in executive session for legal briefings regarding Dunlap vs the City of North Myrtle Beach et al 2017 CP 26 03818 and Neely vs the City of North Myrtle Beach 2017 CP 26 05428.
Council also received a legal briefing regarding the Tort Claims Act. Council took no action. During the meeting, North Myrtle Beach Tree City Board Chairman Tom Walker provided City Council with an activities report. Tree City Board members include Tom Walker, Caroline Driggers, Ruth Anne Ellis, Dee Myers and John Sloop.
Walker told Council that the Tree City Board has completed requirements that lead to North Myrtle Beach again qualifying for consideration by the National Arbor Day Foundation for a Tree City USA designation.
The board continues its Tree of the Month award program, highlighting unusual trees located in the community that have been specially cared for by homeowners and business owners. The board takes photos with the owners of the trees and now provides award winners with a plaque to display inside their home or business.
The purpose of the program is to highlight the value of trees to the North Myrtle Beach community. The Tree City Board is providing copies of its updated brochure to the public.
While taking every opportunity to educate the public about the value of trees through seminars, awards and planting ceremonies, board members also continue to educate themselves by bringing in experts in the field.
Mayor Marilyn Hatley, supported by all Council members, told Walker that the North Myrtle Beach Tree City Board is the best such board in South Carolina.
City Councilman Hank Thomas suggested that some of the revenue collected by the city for tree mitigations go toward purchasing and planting some Dunstan chestnut trees in North Myrtle Beach to determine if they will take to our environment.
The American chestnut was once the most important food and timber tree species in America’s Eastern hardwood forest. In 1904, a bark fungus accidentally introduced from the Orient decimated the specie. Within 40 years, over 30 million acres of chestnut trees died from Maine to Georgia and west to the Mississippi. This was one of the largest ecological disasters in American history. The American chestnut tree was also abundant in South Carolina.
The American chestnut was an amazingly useful tree. People and wildlife ate its plentiful nuts. The beautiful, rot-resistant lumber went to make everything from furniture to fence posts. The tannin industry relied on its tannin. The economic loss from the demise of the American chestnut tree amounted to untold millions of dollars.
Generally, the far more disease resistant Dunstan chestnut tree came to be by cross-pollinating a very healthy American chestnut tree found in an Ohio grove of dead chestnut trees with a mixture of three superior USDA-released Chinese chestnut trees.
City Council approved a motion to reappoint North Myrtle Beach residents Harvey Eisner and Harry Bruton to serve on the North Myrtle Beach Planning Commission.
City Council passed second (final) reading of an ordinance amending Section 4-8 of the City’s code of ordinances to be consistent with state law regarding the time an impounded animal is held prior to disposition. Previous city law required a seven-day hold and state law required a five-day hold. City law now mirrors state law.
City Council passed second reading of an ordinance amending the zoning text accommodating small cell or micro cell facilities on city-owned public property or in public rights of way. In the past, the city regulated cell-tower antenna locations in North Myrtle Beach only for macro sites such as towers or monopoles. Advancements in technology have made micro or smaller cell installations possible, such as a cell-tower fully incorporated into a street light. Any small cell or micro cell installations in the city will first be subject to engineering reviews and city lease or license agreements.
City Council passed second reading of an ordinance amending the zoning ordinance to create duplex “in common” (multiple buildings on one lot) development standards allowing the use within the R-2 and R-3 zoning districts. Minimum lot size is five acres.
City Council tabled until its Feb. 4 meeting a proposed ordinance to amend the Town Centre in Barefoot Resort. Council discussed the proposed ordinance at a Jan. 9, 1:30 p.m. workshop at City Hall.
City Council passed first reading of a proposed ordinance to amend the Beach Cove Ocean Resort Planned Development District (PDD) concerning desired changes to the monument sign located on South Ocean Boulevard at 48th Avenue South. The proposed changes include adding a LED display screen to the sign. The proposed LED screen is about 28 inches tall by 11 feet wide and would change content once every sixty seconds at most. The screen would display information about resort events, amber alerts and local weather. Screen brightness would vary to meet day and night viewing requirements.
The Beach Cove Ocean Resort PDD was entitled in 1983. LED display screens are electronic message signs, and the use of these screens is limited to sign copy that does not change more than once every minute. City code excludes LED signs from R-4 and RC zoning districts. Because most of Ocean Boulevard is zoned R-4 and RC, there are no LED display screen components to any signs located along Ocean Boulevard currently.