MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The greens are overgrown and the rough is everywhere on a half dozen abandoned golf courses in Horry County.
County officials say the courses are eyesores and want them at least mowed but, in some cases, a state law prevents them from doing anything about the problem.
The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports (http://bit.ly/2dz8Gdfh) the owners of four courses have reclassified their properties as agricultural land, exempting them from county mowing ordinances. The state’s Right to Farm Act prohibits local laws from restricting agriculture activity.
But County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus says there are no crops growing on any of the properties, only weeds.
The county is now rewriting an ordinance requiring property owners to clean up their property in emergency situations or if public health is at stake such as a Zika outbreak.
“We’re trying to get where we can clean these things up instead of leaving them unkempt,” Lazarus said. “They’re not paying a lot of taxes on the property, and they’re letting them grow over and using the law to their advantage.”
He said rats, mice and snakes can make their homes in the overgrown golf courses. The ordinance would also apply to vacant land in subdivisions that is not maintained.
“I think we can at least make them mow the grass under this ordinance,” Lazarus said. “It’s a nuisance to the neighbors and people in the surrounding areas.”
He said he has been talking with state lawmakers to see if there is a way to pass a state law to give local governments more authority to have overgrown lots cleaned up.
There are about 100 golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area. But during the past decade there has been a decline in the yearly number of paid rounds at those courses.
The newspaper reported earlier this year that while golf courses have traditionally charged rates based on the time of year, some are increasingly charging based on the time of day a golfer plays.
Information from: The Sun News, http://www.thesunnews.com/