April 10, 2023 Update on the Blu Water Investment Property
As you know, the Board met with Cedar Creek owners plus all Voting Members on March 29 to share what information we had on the proposed development behind Cedar Creek. We sent a summary to all Barefoot owners and asked for advice on how to address this issue including ideas to mitigate the impact of residential development if the project proceeds. The comments we received were very constructive and helpful.
Earlier today we met with the lead partner in the engineering group that is preparing documents on behalf of the builder and the property owner. The attorney for the owner was also present. They are working on documentation to submit to North Myrtle Beach for zoning and construction approvals. We were there to discuss many topics seeking various forms of relief from the planned project. The meeting was very productive and we included the Cedar Creek Voting Member, Bev Livezey.
We believe the next steps will be for the engineering group to consult with Pulte and the lawyer for the owners to decide what changes they will make to their plans before proceeding with the City. We expect to have at least one more meeting so that we can learn what changes are accepted and to make any additional appeals.
Some key governance points have been clarified over the past several weeks:
- While it is true that the BRRA Board has no power to halt this project, it is now clear that the City of NMB only has power to annex the property into the City, to rezone the property, to add it to the Barefoot Resort PUD, and to approve or deny plans for development. It does not have to power to include it in the BRRA.
- The provisions in the governing documents concerning additions to Barefoot Resort describe pathways for joining Barefoot Resort and the BRRA: the primary one is for Silver Carolina, the original developer of Barefoot Resort, to assign rights for development. We confirmed today that Pulte has been assigned the right to develop the property by Silver Carolina.
We will continue to keep Barefoot owners informed as this project proceeds.
On March 2 of this year, the BRRA Board was asked to meet with Mayor Hatley and others to hear a proposed plan to build single-family homes on a tract of land the sits between the Cedar Creek neighborhood in Barefoot and South Carolina Highways 22 & 31. The meeting did not go well as the proposal envisioned 94 homes that would encroach on existing Cedar Creek homes and require a new road off Marsh Glen Drive. The Board members asked many questions and left the meeting needing to know much more. Additional meetings were scheduled with various North Myrtle Beach (NMB) officials, including the Mayor.
At a meeting on March 28, the Board learned additional details from the engineering group and attorney representing the current owner of the property, Blu Water Investments LLC (BWI) and their potential builder: Pulte. The Board members were informed that informal meetings with NMB City Planners have rejected plans for 94 homes without specific direction as to the allowable number of homes. Further, we learned that the agreement between BWI and Pulte expires at the end of this year if a plan to build has not been approved by NMB. Further, we were informed that the prior owner of the property holds a sizable mortgage on the property and there is a risk that the property could revert to the prior owner should a build plan not materialize. We were told that given the high demand for construction excavation materials (dirt) right now, it was likely that the former owner could mine the property to excavate large quantities of dirt to be trucked to other building sites. This risk is believed to be credible.
On March 29, the Board met with Cedar Creek owners as well as Voting Members from all communities to inform them of this situation and to seek input for next steps. In a presentation by Board member Eric Zimmerman, four options were presented with pros and cons of each. A video summary by Eric is available below. Of these options, it became clear to all that only the option of cooperating with the builder was viable at this time. Fighting the proposal would likely fail given the political support for the project. Doing nothing would be irresponsible. And offering to purchase the land was not an available option at this time. Many Cedar Creek owners expressed concerns, disappointment, and anger over the news of this proposed project. Many questions were asked and answered including confirmation that the developers own the access to this track of land via Marsh Glen Drive. Further, it is likely that the builder would request entry into Barefoot Resort as a new neighborhood with all rights and obligations of BRRA membership; NMB currently is in control of granting this entry as a BRRA neighborhood should the builder submit the routine request. The meeting with Cedar Creek owners concluded with a discussion of possible “wish list requests” to the builder that would help mitigate the impact of this project on homeowners in Cedar Creek and on traffic generally for all Barefoot residents. The next step will be to gather this list and to meet with the builder to negotiate the best possible outcome for Barefoot Resort should this project proceed.
Owners are encouraged to send constructive suggestions to the BRRA Board members by April 5 so that the Board can prepare to negotiate with the builder.