Public hearing being held Tuesday on ban of bars opening in downtown area
Myrtle Beach City Council will not issue business licenses for any new bars or nightclubs in one area of downtown.
City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday afternoon that would hold off any new drinking establishments while they conduct a study on the area.
Over the next year, the city's planning commission will talk with business owners and residents in the area to get a feel of what they would like to see happen in the so-called Super Block area around Nance Plaza..
"The planning commission and the planning staff are going to look at the future of the Super Block and the area north of that on Broadway and south of that where (Highway) 501 is going to join 7th Avenue North," said Pederson.
City officials said with recent crime in the area, it's time to figure out what's best for these people in the area.
They said the crime connected to bars and nightclubs in the Super Block area is giving the city a bad reputation.
"Some of them are well-run, some of them have not been well-run," said city manager John Pederson. "But yes, there have been instances that are not consistent with our image of a family friendly beach."
Pederson said that's why city council decided to not issue new business licenses for drinking establishments.
For the next year, the planning commission will work to come up with recommendations for the best way to redevelop the area, whether it's more nightclubs and bars or less of them.
"I don't think we are going into it with any preconceived notion," said Pederson. "So we don't have a goal in mind yet, we are just going through the process."
Pederson said city council wants to keep the value of the family atmosphere in the city, which is why they denied businessman Clayton Smith a new license for Club Heat at Tuesday's meeting.
Smith said he recently took over the property without realizing the negative reputation of the establishment.
He said he fully supports council's decision.
"This isn't personal, but we know some things about that area that we didn't like, that we feel those actions would have continued even though you're there, and we don't want to put you in that position. That's how I took it," said Smith.
Club Heat is in the city limits on Yaupon Drive, but not in the Super Block.
However, it's bars and clubs like Club Heat, that officials want to keep closed, because of the negative image they're creating for the city.
Pederson stressed this ordinance will not impact current drinking establishments in that area.
"We are not trying to go after clubs per se, what we are trying to do is going after clubs that are associated with bad behavior," said Pederson. "And the bad behavior is the thing we want to get a handle on."
As for Smith, he said he will eventually apply for a new business license and plans to open an establishment at the Club Heat location that's more family friendly.
A public hearing will be held on this issue on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 1:30 p.m. in the First Floor Conference Room of Myrtle Beach City Hall.