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Horry County asks FAA to investigate sale of oceanfront campgrounds, files against city

MB council (copy)

Myrtle Beach City Council on Nov. 10 discussing the selling of land to Lakewood and Pirateland campgrounds. 

HORRY COUNTY — Horry County filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration on April 15 to stop Myrtle Beach from receiving $60 million from the sale of two oceanfront campground properties: Pirateland Camping Resort and Lakewood Campground. 

The county believes the money should go toward the Myrtle Beach International Airport, but the city of Myrtle Beach disagrees. 

Horry County owns and operates four airports throughout the area, including the Myrtle Beach airport, Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach, as well as other smaller airports. 

The issue of who should get the money has been going on since late 2020, when Horry County filed a lawsuit against Myrtle Beach for the sale. 

But on Jan. 27, a circuit court judge ruled Horry County has no material ties to the properties, so the court could not delay a pending sale of the land.

While this did not end the lawsuit against Myrtle Beach, it was a blow to Horry County officials who were trying to block the sale.

With the newest complaint, Horry County dropped the lawsuit against Myrtle Beach as it was not needed due to filing with FAA. 

The Post and Courier Myrtle Beach was not able to immediately confirm if the FAA is planning to open an investigation.

Why does Horry County believe the airport should benefit? 

While the lawsuit and complaint only go back a few years, the conversation of who owns the properties has been going on since World War II.

Both properties were given to the city from the federal government following World War II. Initially the land was required to be used for airports, but Myrtle Beach officials claim the city got permission to use it for other purposes, according to previously published reports in The Post and Courier, Myrtle Beach.

For decades the land has been leased to campgrounds with the revenue going to benefit the Myrtle Beach International Airport.

Horry County argued back in 2020, that selling the land unlawfully cuts the county’s airport operation off from revenue it was promised in the deed and as upheld by the city council. County said they feel that the land is being sold at an unfair price and the revenue would only enrich the city and ultimately the deal violates an agreement between the city and county. The county specifically cites a “beneficial interest and equitable title” to the land that the sale violated.

Both Mark Kruea, Myrtle Beach spokesperson, and Horry County Spokesperson Kelly Moore declined to comment.

Check back later as updates will be made to this developing story.

Reach Alex Brizee at 843-637-9881. Follow her on Twitter @alexbrizee. 

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