October 18, 2012 North Myrtle Beach, SC – Long difficult hurtles had to be jumped to get to the point that the Cherry Grove Marsh dredging might actually be seeing a start date in the future. Some time in 2014 according to city officials. Things are moving now – the city met just this week with environment groups to move the permitting process along.
Finger Channel homes at high tide
Pat Dowling, city spokesman, said, “Mayor Marilyn Hatley and others met with representatives of the S.C. Environmental Law Project and the S.C. Coastal Conservation League in Georgetown on Tuesday. The City wants to involve these groups as well as the S.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service in developing the best mitigation plan possible. The environmental groups have agreed to cooperate in providing advice and counsel along with the agencies in developing the mitigation plan.”
But along the way, the ownership of the marsh lands had to be settled. Ownership between low and high tide has been claimed in several lawsuits over the years by East Cherry Grove Realty heirs of C.D. Nixon, developer of the Cherry Grove finger channel homes. They had sued several times to prevent the City of North Myrtle Beach from obtaining a dredging permit. The heirs claimed that the property is owned by them. The SC Supreme Court ruled this April that the contested property belonged to the State and the heirs decided to not appeal. For background read ‘Surprise – State owns tidal lands.’
In June of this year, plans to pay for the dredging with a special tax assessment on the Cherry Grove property hit a snag when SC Governor Nicki Haley vetoed a necessary bill. SC laws stipulate the types of projects that can be funded by a special tax assessment and dredging was not among them. H4033 added dredging to the list. Haley vetoed it but both the SC House and Senate subsequently overrode the veto. For background read ‘Governor Haley vetoes four bills, one hits home.’
The dredged spoil material will be pumped to the Horry County-owned Spoil Basin located off Little River Neck Road on the Intracoastal Waterway. Dowling said, “None of the dredged spoil material will be deposited on the former River Wynde tract purchased by the City of North Myrtle Beach. The proposed pipeline route follows Church View Lane to Little River Neck Road. The pipe will go under Little River Neck Road and follow the City's (River Wynde) property to the Horry County Spoil Basin.”