The Myrtle Beach Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday gave unanimous approval to 7-Eleven gas station and convenience store on Thursday, leaving one final approval before developers can begin construction.
The proposed 7-Eleven has rankled neighbors of the nearby Grand Dunes neighborhood, who say they worry the gas station could leech chemicals into the ground near their homes, and are angered by the prospect of additional traffic, noise and light coming from the store.
“Irresponsible development in Myrtle Beach has led to the construction of gas stations right in the middle of neighborhoods, putting those who live there at risk,” Suzanne Dunmire, one of the residents leading the charge, told The Sun News in August.
Dunmire and a coalition of other residents filed a lawsuit against the city in August in an attempt to stop construction of the gas station and other projects. State Rep. Spencer Wetmore (D-Charleston) is representing the residents.
Wetmore said the Zoning Board’s decision wasn’t surprising, as it is rare that they would overturn a decision by the city zoning administrator. However, her clients are still reviewing their options and are considering an appeal, which would take the case to court. The residents have yet to decide on how they want to move forward.
The 7-Eleven, as well as a Bojangles and a dentist’s office, would be located in the Living Dunes neighborhood, which is part of Grand Dunes. The 7-Eleven will feature 16 gas pumps.
7-Eleven’s move to Grand Dunes is part of a larger expansion for the company, The Sun News reported in May, following the company’s acquisition of Speedway convenience stores from Marathon Petroleum Corp. The convenience store chain, the largest in the United States, is planning to open two other Horry County locations as well, with one in Murrell’s Inlet and another near Coastal Carolina University.
The gas station, Bojangles and dentist office project was reviewed by the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission in May, at which time residents began organizing in earnest against the project. Some members of the board said they agreed with resident concerns that the projects didn’t fit in with the neighborhood at the May meeting. A vote to approve the project from the Community Board of Appearance is expected soon.
“Living Dunes residents, who enjoy watching the water fowl that populate area ponds and the colorful sunsets from their front porches now imagine what these views will be like with the glare of the lights from the canopy of the 24-hour 16-pump 7-Eleven and the constant traffic noise and headlights of the cars entering and exiting the crowded establishments,” Dunmire wrote in a May 16 letter outlining residents’ concerns about the project, which was shared with The Sun News. “The serene character of the Living Dunes community will be destroyed by this development.”
According to plans for the project, the 7-Eleven would be on the corner of 82nd Parkway and North Kings Highway, the Bojangles next door, and the dentist’s office in the middle of the lot. A fourth lot North of the dentist’s office is also included in plans. A Publix grocery store and shopping plaza, including a Starbucks and a McDonald’s, is currently located across 82nd Parkway from the planned development.