by the City of Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach’s new Quality of Life Court is expected to hear its first cases in mid-March. The goal of establishing such a court is to quickly address issues that negatively affect the quality of life here for our residents, businesses and visitors.
Charleston and other cities nationwide use a similar court process to help create a safer and cleaner community. For one thing, bringing issues before a judge allows for faster resolutions. Problems are corrected more quickly, and that means happier neighbors.
Violations that may earn a trip to the new court will include: illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles, noise complaints, overgrown grass, weeds and unkempt properties, illegal signs, and zoning violations and nuisances that affect the public’s health, decency, safety or economy.
If a violation is observed, a police officer or code enforcement officer will issue an offense summons. The property owner or tenant then will appear in court to respond to the notice. The judge will hear the case and make a decision about how to proceed.
Violations can be discovered by city staff in the course of their daily routines, as well as through regular inspections. Staff may notice illegally dumped material and investigate. Similarly, they may see a zoning or sign violation, which will result in a summons.
Neighbors also can report violations to the city. From after-hours noise complaints to an out-of-control yard, your neighbors are keeping watch on how our community looks. The goal of the court is to make everyone aware of the rules and ensure compliance.
Prior to establishing the Quality of Life Court, many of these cases followed a lengthy “rule to show cause” path. Correcting violations involved a public hearing before City Council.
From the first notice of a violation to a final resolution by council, that process could take six months or more. The city hopes the new court will reduce that time frame to only 30 or 45 days, at most.
The Quality of Life Court will meet monthly to start, at 2pm on the third Wednesday at the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center.
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