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Councilman says review period for Murrells Inlet condo development 'grossly inadequate'

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Georgetown County Councilman John Thomas says he wants the county Planning Commission to defer consideration of a proposed 60-unit condominium development in Murrells Inlet to allow residents in the area more time to review and comment on the development plan.

"It's clear that right now the development plan is a moving target, with many parts of the plan not finalized," Thomas said in a news release. "It's not fair to the community and grossly inadequate to have at best just four business days to review a final plan prior to the Planning Commission hearing on the plan."

Wednesday night, Thomas met with neighbors near the planned complex in Murrells Inlet to answer their questions and hear their concerns.

"The community has legitimate concerns about whether the plan, as it exists, meets county development standards, particularly concerning road access and buffering with adjoining properties," Thomas said. "Let's make sure affected residents have adequate time to thoroughly scrutinize the final plan, when it's made available to the public, and provide needed input to the Planning Commission."

Thomas said he'll attend the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday and ask the Commission for a deferral.

Related: Hundreds of Murrells Inlet neighbors petition against 60 unit development

But, the request before the Planning Commission is a site plan review, not a rezoning. "The current zoning, which has been in place since the 1970s, allows the high-density development that is being proposed for the site, leaving the county with little choice but to approve the plan if it meets county development standards," Thomas said in a release.

Thomas said the county Planning Director Boyd Johnson said he didn't anticipate the final plan to be submitted to his office until Friday, meaning the plan would become available for public review just four business days before the Planning Commission hearing.

"I'm not happy with this high-density development and the fact that in many ways the county's hands are tied as to the ultimate approval of the project," Thomas said. "I see my role as doing the best that I can to make sure any plan that is approved indeed meets all county development standards and mitigates impacts to surrounding property owners to the extent possible, including no access on Murrells Inlet Road."

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