Planning Commission discusses food trucks, regulation of Ocean Boulevard shops, Yaupon Drive

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In a meeting Tuesday the City of Myrtle Beach Planning Commission addressed a number of ongoing issues.

Plans to regulate what can be sold on Ocean Boulevard were delayed again.

Commissioners agreed a tighter police presence on the boulevard has given them time to approach the issue thoroughly and not treat it as an emergency discussion.

Members discussed the legality of allowing the city to regulate what businesses can sell. They said they need more advice from the city attorney, and they want to hear from the public.

The commission chair Bill Pritchard also questioned why a specific part of the city is being targeted. He made the point the commission should want the whole city to be family-friendly and not just a specific district.

A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for mid-September.

In the same meeting, commissioners also discussed how to regulate food trucks in the city.

They said they want to get the language right for an ordinance that could allow a consistent option for food trucks in the city.

Their main concerns were wanting to know how these trucks will operate and how they will affect existing businesses.

Members expressed interest in two ordinances–one that would allow trucks in the city and one that’d be more specific and set detailed parameters for the trucks.

Those still have to be worked out but could include where the food would be prepared. Some operators sell food from their truck that was cooked in a restaurant, and some cook right from the truck.

The commission seemed in favor of an official ordinance, but Mayor John Rhodes has expressed disapproval in the past, saying food trucks could affect brick and mortar restaurants.

One food truck owner at Tuesday’s meeting said that would not be the case.

“It’s just a different genre of dining,” Drew Basilicato said.

“So I don’t think there’s gonna be direct competition. I can always appreciate the mayor’s concerns to protect the people who have put time and money into their business and their livelihood, but I really think as we do a little research on this it’s not gonna come out as competition at all.”

Basilicato said he will meet with planning director Carol Coleman to draw up an official proposal.

The commission also decided to delay recommendation to city council that would rename the south end of Yaupon Drive in Myrtle Beach.

Commissioners disagreed over changing the name to South Beach Drive, as there is gray area as to whether this name is already on city books.

Some members made the point a name change would not solve the overall problem of crime in the area and would provide a false sense of security.

They ultimately decided to delay any formal decision because they did not receive the minimum number of necessary signatures calling for a change. City code requires 75 percent of property owners to sign their approval for the change, and right now only 58 percent have.

Pritchard ended the discussion saying they will support the name change if they receive a valid petition and consider a feature that defines the two areas of the street–like a traffic circle.