South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Residents angry after planning commission gives initial approval for development of Ingram Dunes
March 20th, 2018

By Audrey Biesk, WMBF News

New single family homes are expected to occupy what is known as the Ingram Dunes in North Myrtle Beach. The fate of the dunes was in the hands of the North Myrtle Beach Planning Commission Tuesday night. The battle between the Preserve Ingram Dunes group, the city and the developer has lasted more than one year. The board voted 5 to 1 approving the preliminary subdivision plan of 31 single family lots and two public right of ways on the Ingram Dunes site.

The senior landscape architect for DDC Engineers talked with WMBF News about the project at hand.

“This is a piece of property that is privately owned these individuals have enjoyed for years, but at the end of the day, it is zoned for development and that’s the way we are moving forward," said Sean Hoelscher.

Preserve Ingram Dunes tried to try to stop any sort of development from happening.

Amy Armstrong, the Executive Director and Chief Counsel of the South Carolina Environmental Law Project was asked to give legal assistance to the Preserve Ingram Dunes group.

"We like to help communities save special places any time we can," Armstrong said. "Some of the members of Preserve Ingram dunes have been using this area for 60 years, even some of the Planning Commission members said they remember walking on them."

Armstrong said people have enjoyed climbing the nearly 50-foot tall dunes, oak trees and hiking the windy trails. She said it would be an extremely large undertaking to bulldoze over the typography of the land.

“Having some sort of public use like it being a public park that the city would maintain, an area that is open space for public, when Preserve Ingram Dune group members talk about preserving it they want to ensure the area remains in its natural state to be enjoyed by the community as a resource," stated Armstrong.

Hoelscher explained how it is in their best interest to create something positive for the entire community, along with a high-end neighborhood.

“Many of the adjacent home sites were built on some of the similar typography, so some of these individuals that are very passionate about this particular project live directly adjacent and these dunes that they are claiming are so essential don’t stop at the property lines," Hoelscher said.

Damien Triouleyre, a supporter of Preserve Ingram Dunes, argued in front of the Planning Commission, saying: "There is very little natural green space left now in North Myrtle Beach on the ocean side of the Waterway. There are few neighborhood parks. This is a rare opportunity to preserve one of the most beautiful and environmentally important places left on the coast of South Carolina, right in the heart of North Myrtle Beach. If the Ingram Dunes were to be lost, the most loved and unique place would be gone forever."

Preserve Ingram Dunes requested Planning Commission to make a table action and give more time to create a nature preserve. The commission argued no alternatives have been presented.

Hoelscher added, “Our client has not been approached by any of these folks who are interested in preserving or trying to set up a land trust or conservation needs or anything like that in the past 18 months since everyone was so excited about trying to stop the rezoning, he’s not been presented any offers, the land is under contract and his hands are tied.”

The Ingram Dunes tree variance request on the agenda Tuesday will go to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

DDC Engineers said it expects grading permits, DHEC permits and state permits to be approved and bulldozing will begin quickly after.

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