Surfside Beach town leaders discuss creating “entertainment district”

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Surfside Beach Planning Commission met on Tuesday to discuss creating an “entertainment district” surrounding the pier.

The proposed district is approximately six acres and runs along Surfside Drive to 1st Avenue South, from South Dogwood Drive to the beach. The area is currently zoned for commercial and residential properties, but town leaders want to eliminate the residential zoning and make it solely commercial. This would prevent anyone from building a new home in that district.

Assistant Town Administrator Jon Harrah said town leaders want to rebrand the area as an entertainment district to draw more people. He said the goal is to “make it more of a destination, make it more of a walkable, pedestrian-friendly area.”

Neal and Pam’s Pub owner Zach Baker is on board with the idea.

“I would like that. I think it’d create more of a bar-hopping entertainment like district. If you go down two miles south of here to Garden City, there’s foot traffic all summer long,” says Baker. The business owner wants to see the same in Surfside Beach. His restaurant sits between Surfside Drive and 1st Avenue South, in the proposed district.

“I’d love to see the tourist season extend into the fall and winter down here,” he said.

Bubba’s Food Shack General Manager Nathanial Benedict said the entertainment district would be great for business but also anticipates pushback from people living nearby.

“They see things sometimes that they don’t necessarily want in their residential area, whether it be dumpsters or just the high traffic,” voices Benedict.

Harrah said the possible rezoning would play hand-in-hand with the rebuilding of the pier.

“I think it’ll be vital. I think the intention is to draw people to the pier. With that environment and the rebranding of this district, the pier basically becomes a destination,” predicts Harrah.

If the Planning Commission approves the proposal, it will go before Surfside Beach Town Council.