The possibility of small-scale overnight accommodations at the west end of Folly Beach has some residents concerned that a new commercial area would gain a foothold there.
Chris Marley said he was worried about the prospect of City Council approval of a zoning change that would allow a bed-and-breakfast or inn for the Ninth Street West marine district near where he lives.
“I think it’s a terrible idea,” Marley said.
The island is already burdened with traffic and congestion in the warmer months. The proposed zoning violates the comprehensive plan, the Folly Beach blueprint for development, he said.
The Planning Commission on Feb. 4 voted to recommend to council that it approve a “special exception” allowing a bed and breakfast or an inn in the marine commercial district.
“We don’t want to create a district with multiple inns and bed-and-breakfasts,” said commission Vice-Chairman Carl Hally.
In the west end marine district, there are seven lots that combine to total less than 2 acres. Three quarter-acre lots are vacant. The others have single-family homes, a duplex and a parking lot for a marina, said zoning administrator Aaron Pope.
No more than 10 rooms could be built at one tourist establishment. The number of bedrooms allowed would be dictated by state Department of Health and Environmental Control approval of an on-site septic system, he said.
In addition, tourist accommodations would be further limited because they would have to be at least 200 feet apart, he said.
A developer has indicated an interest in constructing a bed-and-breakfast or inn at the marina district, but no plans have been submitted.
“It was his interest that spurred the proposed development,” Pope said.
Pope said the comprehensive plan is silent on the issue of the proposed zoning change.
Folly has a bed-and-breakfast and an inn near its Center Street commercial district, where a high-rise hotel is located.
City Councilman Paul Hume said the situation is not a big deal.
“We’re not talking about building hotels there,” he said.
A bed-and-breakfast on the island provides $50,000 a year in tax revenue, he said.
“It’s a win-win,” he said.
The city Design Review Board would have a say in what, if anything, gets built at the west end. Existing restrictions governing height, parking and lot coverage would apply, Pope said.
The marine district change will likely go before council at its meeting on Feb. 26, Hume said.