Atlantic Beach Development Moratorium to End Soon

AB’s limits on building set to expire

May 11, 2008

By Robert Morris – The Sun News

A law that all but halted any building for nearly two years – leaving vacant both highwayside and beachfront lots – will expire soon, reopening Atlantic Beach to commercial activity.

Facing an uncooperative market and concerns about the town’s political turmoil, however, developers say any major project is still years away.

Even so, letting the town’s strict regulation expire will leave Atlantic Beach exposed to the same overly permissive land uses that raised the need for restrictions several years ago, one land planner said.

Moratorium, of sorts
What many in town refer to as the “development moratorium” is not precisely a ban, said Mark Hoeweler, planning director for the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, the nonprofit agency that has helped Atlantic Beach with planning.

The law actually allows traditional houses to be built in the city limits, but requires anything more to go through extra steps with the planning commission.

“Anything condo, multifamily or commercial would have to come under strict scrutiny,” Hoeweler said.

Describing the town’s old zoning laws as incohesive, Hoeweler said Atlantic Beach began seeking better control over development more than two years ago through a new master plan.

As planners began drafting the new rules governing what types of businesses could open and what new buildings could look like, the Town Council passed the so-called “moratorium,” giving itself review over proposed development.


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