I advise that you not move to Surfside Beach,
the city government is extremely hostile and contemptuous of residents and businesses.
For those of you that are skeptical, I have a house to sell you !
I can't get out of here fast enough !
Here's the short list:
1. Very bad form of government (Council form); see 1. below:
2. excessive (and bad) ordinances, see for yourself: (try section 17.)
3. Trees & Tourists are the only things that the city cares about.
If you are not one or the other, stay away; I warned you.
4. Trees: don't ever plant one, once you do the city controls it
and you can't do anything but watch it destroy your house, yard, life.
Beware the $1000 fine !
City law specifys that you cannot take a tree down until
AFTER its roots break up your foundation, or
AFTER the overhanging limb goes through your roof, etc.
Also a $500 fine per day for not picking up trash,
$500 per day for not taking care of a diseased tree, etc.
5. The Public Works Director has Carte Blanche to steal anything, anytime,
from the city right-of-way that adjoins your property.
You must go immediately to the police to have any chance of getting it back.
WARNING: There is no due-process ! You have NO RIGHTS !
He can steal from your property and get away with it
because there is no documentation of anything that he steals !
or where it was stolen from !
He can keep your property, the city will never know.
He is judge, jury, and executioner, all in one.
6. The Mayor and city council are powerless to get anything done in the city (see 1.).
7. The city adminstration is powerless to make judgement calls (see 1.).
8. High turnover in city Administration
There have been more Public Works Directors than I can count;
and apparently more City Administrators than I ever knew about !
Then there are the multiple lawsuits against the city by former employees, plus Nibils:
The list was too long to put here, and not all-inclusive, see 7. at the bottom
9. Routine maintenance is declining.
10. There is no help for residents when the one-size-fits-all law doesn't fit. (see 1.)
11. City Govt communication with residents ranges from none to false.
12. Behind the scenes politics and backstabbing badly affects city services to residents.
13. City makes property owners pay for the citys failures. (see 13. at the bottom of this page)
The city takes responsibilty for nothing, but holds the residents responsible for everything.
14. Myself and 3 most recent neighbors would not have purchased anything
in Surfside Beach if we knew then what we know now.
When I bought my house in Surfside Beach, I spent a lot of money that I didn't have
in order to stay out of any HOA, due to the many horror stories that I have heard about HOAs;
but after living in Surfside Beach, the HOA is looking far better.
1. There are 3 forms of city government in South Carolina:
A. mayor-council form
B. council form
C. council-manager form
Surfside Beach is a "Council Form" of government
with seven members on Town Council, including the mayor.
The South Carolina 'council' form of government is cowardly, irresponsible, and should not be legal. It allows both council and city govt to evade responsibility, leaving citizens noone to turn to for relief/judgement/appeal, etc. when the one-size-fits-all law conflicts with common sense or reason. The city mayor and city council says (to residents) "go see the city bureacracy", and the city bureacracy says "go see the city council". Thereby both bodies can avoid taking responsibility for anything ! NOONE has the authority to make judgements ! NOONE has a sign on their desk that says: "The buck stops here" ! Even when the Mayor agrees that something is wrong, he has NO authority to get it done. He can't get an overflowing catch-basin cleaned ! He can't stop the stealing ! He can't get a pothole filled ! Why even have a mayor if it is just a useless figurehead that drafts more and more draconian ordinances attempting to exert some control ? The terms of both Mayor and Councilmen should be reduced to 2 years maximum, giving voters a chance to correct their mistakes sooner and provide for a government more responsive to the voters. Even some politicians agree, a postcard sent out before the 5 April 2016 Surfside Beach election read: "There is time to avoid another 4 year long mistake." Having 2-year terms helps to limit the damage. And we already go to the polls every 2 years to vote because the terms for council seats are staggared. The city government has gotten into an HOA mentality which, if I hear correctly, the state is considering regulations to curtail HOA abuses. The city council has made these ridiculous and complex laws to maintain some kind of control and compensate for the fact that NOONE in the city council or the administration may exert any type of judgement; therefore every single 'i' must be dotted and every single 't' crossed to consider every single possibility that could happen and legislate it. Human-beings being what they are, this is NOT possible. Too many laws, too little justice. The 'council' form of government does NOT WORK ! One size does not fit all, judgement is required. And all the laws limit the citizens; where are the laws to limit the city ? 3. TREES: more and more Draconian laws. When I built my house in 2003 I was required to have 6 trees; I later planted many more. At one time I had 18 trees. Had I known that the city would become so Draconian regarding trees I would never have planted any of them. I also planted many wrong species in the wrong places as they were tiny seedlings in cut-off 2-liter plastic Mountain Dew bottles and I knew nothing about them. They are cute when they are young and tiny, but grow big fast. I asked the city permission to repair my mistakes and replace the current trees with more appropriate trees and they refused; SB has a one-size-fits-all law for residents specifying inches of diameter at a specific height, which does NOT get applied to high-density developments. See http://surfsidebeach.org/Data/Sites/1/media/forms/district_regs_2011.pdf Surfside Beach likes ugly high-density developments with low-density trees, usually one fat Palm Tree per house; Palm trees which provide minimum shade and have NO roots to prevent erosion. Cities like high-density housing because there is more taxable income per square foot. However, this is not the traditional R-1 character of Surfside Beach, which is part of what attracted its residents; high-density housing imposes additional burdens on police and city services, and detracts from the traditional character of the town which can cause the town to be less attractive to new R-1 oriented residents. There is now a $500 fine for trimming your tree and an additional $500 fine for not getting a permit. What constitutes "trimming" a tree ? My dictionary says TRIM: "to make trim, neat, regular or less bulky by or as if by cutting". So if I can't trim my trees is the city going to ? I know that when the Loblolly pines get within 10 feet of the high voltage line that Santee Cooper is going to come in and trim them. Of course the city is not going to trim the trees, they can't even clean their own catch basins that they installed. And they like the untrimmed wild jungle growth. The city is totally unconcerned that tall pines snap in violent winds and fall down on peoples houses, cars, yards, cable wires, telephone wires, power lines, block roadways, etc. Did noone see the impassable roads in New Jersey blocked by trees knocked down by Hurricane Sandy ! Being a RESPONSIBLE homeowner I try to take care of my property so as not to cause any trouble for my neighbors. Surfside Beach is NOT a good neighbor, they don't care about anybody or anything ! Surfside Beach beats up residents on the trees, but permits jungles to grow on lots with no residence. The jungle sends vines, roots and weed seeds to the neighbors properties but the city does not care. The vines also kill trees by smothering or strangling them but that is fine with the city; residents cannot remove trees but vines may. The jungles also harbor mosquitos; my lot was a jungle before I had my house built. Since then my neighbor has thanked me 3 separate times for building my house because before I did he could not use his back yard due to mosquitos; now he has built a patio and a pool and can enjoy his backyard. Here are the Residential regulations (hard to find): http://surfsidebeach.org/Data/Sites/1/media/forms/district_regs_2011.pdf R-1 required 6 trees when I built my house, now only 5 are required, but I have 13 ! and can't even change ONE out for something else ! (see 1.) R-1 really gets screwed on the trees ! Probably to compensate for the leniency in R-3 zones. R-1 = Low Density Residential, see the following page: http://surfsidebeach.org/Data/Sites/1/media/departments/building-and-zoning-forms/district_regs_2011.pdf R-1 residents are the primary landowners and usually permanent residents. SIGNS: Surfside Beach sign ordinance permits the Public Works department to STEAL private property. I told them that there is already an existing legal enforcement and judicial process that should be used: a violation of the ordinance is reported to the police who confront the criminal (more a victim than a criminal) and give them a ticket which they can pay or go to court. This way the victim knows what ordinance they have violated AND their private property is not stolen and trashed, AND there is a judge who supposedly can use some judgement, AND there is "due process" and a paper trail, and evidence. The city says that they call the victims to notify them that their property has been stolen by the Public Works department, this is not true. I called over 60 real-estate agents to come get their signs and 2 of them were not sure if they had been called or not, the other 58+ were absolutely sure that they had not been called. This is THEFT, plain and simple; city employes should NEVER be authorized to steal private property. Does state law provide for ANY government employees to STEAL PRIVATE PROPERTY ? BAD CITY EMPLOYEES: - City Residents should get to vote out (by write-in vote) the worst town employee each 2 years when new councilmen are elected. There seems to be extreme politics going on that results in good town employees leaving and bad ones staying. Bad employees enjoy tormenting city residents and failing to do their jobs and there is noone to take responsibility for the bad employees. MAINTENANCE: The City puts in catch basins but does not clean them and given the 'council' form of government NOONE is responsible ! Public Works has not answered the telephone in years. The catch-basin, which was designed to be cleaned (and for which the city bought cleaning equipment), overflows into the drain pipe which was NOT designed to be cleaned and costs much more time and money to clean (but has not been cleaned either, so....). ADDITIONAL: Surfside Beach is also like a 3rd grade teacher who makes the entire class stay after school because one individual threw a spitball. Surfside Beach passed a law banning ALL burning because one or more individuals were not cooperating with the permit process, but instead of ticketing these few, they punished ALL the residents. My house is up for sale; I loved Surfside Beach when I move here but Surfside Beach government has become so tyrannical that I can't sell my house fast enough and recent real-estate agents that talked to me said that they recommend their customers househunt in Garden City instead of Surfside Beach because Surfside Beach has become so repressive. Between the legal theft of private property by Surfside Beach Public Works, the punishing tree ordinances, the continual reductions in services etc. it is clear that Surfside Beach City Council works for the trees and the tourists, and that they want all the residents and local businesses to GET OUT.
City residents mow and care for square miles of city property
donating thousands of hours of their time
and there is zero reciprocity from the city.
Instead of thanks, they get their property stolen.
When the Public Works director stole a neighbors property and the
neighbor confronted him he acted like a junk-yard dog:
FIGHT the horrible, nasty, lawbreaking criminal resident !
What a wonderful legacy he leaves for Surfside Beach.
A DECENT 'public servant' would have said "I am sorry but this
land belongs to Surfside Beach which has many rules that say
that you cannot put this here, but I will show you where
you can put these, and here is your property back."
Oh!, and while he is cruising the streets looking for something to steal,
the Public Works Director is not doing his main job, Public Works, or supervising his employees,
or answering the telephone (it has been years since someone answered
the telephone at Public Works when I call).
Is stealing or enforcement in his job description ?
Where is his authority to steal coming from ?
Left photo is stolen real-estate agent signs,
right photo is the empty space from which my FOR SALE sign was stolen (the upright blue stick).
What is the source of the city councils extreme paranoia
regarding the right-of-way, that they would go to the
extreme of sicing the Public Works Director
on the residents to steal their private property ?
Why wait FOUR YEARS to steal my sign ?
Did the new Mayor (15 days in office) order this ?
So who does that land (right-of-way) actually belong to ?
Some Government entity ? The City Council ?
Are the residents not the basis of that government entity ?
Are the residents not part of the city ?
In other cities the residents ARE the city,
and the Mayor and City Council are their REPRESENTATIVES !
Not their vindictive landowner lord like Surfside Beach!
There is something very, very sick with Surfside Beach government.
It could be the Council form of government being the major problem,
but it could also be the individuals that the residents elected,
and the individuals that the 'elected representatives' hired
to administer the city, or all of the above.
Ha, as if the City Council cares; Surfside Beach is for trees & tourists !
- former Building & Zoning http://www.myhorrynews.com/news/local/surfside_beach/article_8a72e71a-99c3-11e3-913b-0017a43b2370.html
- former City Administrator Jim Duckett
- former Public Safety Director Andy Christenson http://www.live5news.com/story/12912533/former-surfside-public-safety-director-sues-town
- former public works director Robert "Ty" Taylor http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/Surfside-Beach-settles-wrongful-termination-lawsuits-with-former-directors-[The-a-325088
- Nibils against another former Town Administrator http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article16638722.html
- Nibils replacement tenant: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/15026163/former-tentative-pier-space-tenant-sues-town
- "The Town's Sign Ordinance is currently under review and will be based on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Reed vs. Town of Gilbert Case."
- Retired Pastor Lazar vs Surfside Beach (Dec. 2015)
- The city dug the ditch out too deep (and crooked). This caused erosion, and muskrats to move in,
dig tunnels, and undermine the embankment on 'city land'.
When the problem was reported to the city, the city employee that was sent out said
"it's YOUR problem" to the resident.
- There was a plot of land zoned commercial, it was mostly trees plus and an old empty shed.
A builder got the land rezoned residential, divided it into 5 lots, built houses on
3 of the lots, then went out of business. Some person bought the empty lot
with the shed on it, which the builder used to hide his construction garbage in
instead of hauling it away. The city is now demanding that the innocent owner
pay to have the shed torn down and the garbage hauled away.
The city should have required the builder to do both of these,
the city failed to do their job, failed to monitor the builder,
so they say "it's YOUR problem" to the land-owner and hold him responsible
after the city failed to do their job.
- Former residents converted a garage into a room without a permit.
Instead of going after the guilty party,
the city says "it's YOUR problem" to the new homeowner
and orders him to unconvert his house, OR ELSE !!!
more tree rule problems - sent 21Feb2017 More tree rule problems are created when you micro-manage: - At what point does the city use tree ordinances to take property rights away from the owner ? - At what point does a plant become a 'tree' ? When the 'tree' is 6 inches high ? 12 inches ? 18 inches ? - Does diameter matter ? - Does it matter if the tree is in a pot ? - Does it matter what kind of tree it is ? - Does it matter how old or new the 'tree' is ? - What if a fig plant only has a single trunk and grows in the shape of a tree ? - What if a wild tree grows in your lawn and you run it over with the lawn mower ? - If a plant does not have a trunk at chest height, 48" high, is it a tree ? Not having a trunk at 48" off of the ground means that the plant cannot contribute to the 60" diameter requirement for trees which is required by the homeowner in order to have some management control of his own property.
One councilman said something in passing about me leaving: my response: If you don't want residents to leave: - sent 04Feb2017 1. Stop stealing their property; 2. Stop punishing newcomers for crimes that they did not commit; 3. Stop prioritizing trees over residents and their houses; 4. Fire the hostile Administrator and Public Works Director; 5. Change the Surfside Beach form of government; 6. Stop being an HOA; 7. Allow homeowners more control of their property; 8. Have the Public Works Director address Storm Water Problems instead of stealing private property. 9. Regulate the jungles (mosquitoes, vines and trees growing over or into the neighbors properties, tree limbs hanging over the neighbors houses and automobiles, trees that may fall on the neighbors house, etc.)
This is just for starters, I am sure that other residents can add much more.
28 May 2017 I moved out of Surfside Beach and stopped posting items to this page.
I don't stay where I am not wanted.