GEORGETOWN — Murrells Inlet is one step closer to having a new brewery at U.S. 17 and Wachesaw Road thanks to a unanimous planning commission rezoning vote May 20.
Owners of the popular Quigley's Pint & Plate locations are proposing a 4,000-square-foot brewery, an accompanying pavilion and artisan village made of repurposed shipping containers called The CoQuina Project.
Named for a nearby street, the project is now one of a few flexible design districts that has been approved in Georgetown County, according to county spokesperson Jackie Broach.
Next, Georgetown County Council will hear the rezoning request June 22. If given three reading approvals by county council, the brewery could open as early as next spring.
The site will not only feature a 4,000-square-foot brewery and taproom — capable of producing 2,000 barrels of beer a year — but will also feature a dog park, a pavilion for outdoor community events and private parties and an artisan village made of repurposed shipping containers.
Co-owner Josh Quigley said the site is slated to handle up to 11 shipping containers, which tentatively would include two outdoor food options, a smoothie/juice bar, a produce vendor and a separate food truck.
Quigley's Pint & Plate has locations in Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island.
Meanwhile, the planning commission also deferred updates to the county tree ordinance to be discussed further the next commission meeting June 17. The commission told County Planning Director Holly Richardson it had questions regarding how fines would be handed out, among other questions that planning staff needed more time to answer.
The updates to the ordinance would include adding site inspections before any ground is broken on new developments, adding in a tree fund to fund any replanting of trees that are taken down without approval and lowering the size definition of a Grand Tree to hopefully save more of them.
A local nonprofit called Keep It Green said it has heavily familiarized itself with both the current and proposed tree ordinances. Over the years, Keep It Green has organized to protest several zoning changes and developments across the county, some of which have been successful, it says.
Vice Chairwoman Beverly Sullivan said she has spoken a lot with Richardson and the planning staff about the proposed amendments to the tree ordinance, and while she is happy positive changes are being made, she's concerned with how they will be enforced.
"(The county) doesn't have the staff to do the enforcement that's required," Sullivan said.
County Planning Director Holly Richardson said while the county and planning department does enforce the existing tree ordinance, the new ordinance is being workshopped to do just what people like Sullivan want to see: strengthen enforcement.
"There are some cases where people get out there, cut a tree and don't get a permit, and it's hard for us to know what was removed," Richardson said. "We just have to work within the ordinances that we have, so that's why we were proposing this amendment: to give us a little bit more teeth when it comes to saving existing trees."