“He has completely sold out and does not work for any of us. John Rhodes has no chance of getting re-elected if my vote counts,” said one Grande Dunes resident.
The Sun News of Myrtle Beach recently published an article that portrayed Grande Dunes homeowners as a group “up in arms.”
The article stated, and we quote: A group of Grande Dunes residents are up in arms over a road that would link their exclusive neighborhood of estate homes with a gated community under development to their north, which they say would overwhelm village streets and a private bridge that crosses the Intracoastal Waterway.
The proposed Grande Dunes North development is marketed and sold by LStar Communities. The new neighborhood would be built north of the Grand Dunes in North Myrtle Beach. The new neighborhood plans included 858 new luxury townhouses, cottages and estate homes on 241 acres. Plans also include an access road that would connect the Grande Dunes North neighborhood into Grande Dunes allowing residents of the new neighborhood a shortcut to the beach ongoing by driving through the existing Grande Dunes. According to George Johnson, LStar division president, “Access would be limited to only those who belong to the Members Club private golf course, entering through a rear security gate that would block access into the Golf Village community.”
The Sun News Reported: Grande Dunes residents argue that access into their village should be blocked at the back entrance, but the new northern residents could access their community through the front gate and bridge at the U.S. 17 Bypass if they belonged to the private golf club, as a shortcut home.
“We don’t want any connectivity, we want two separate communities and we want it to stay that way,” said Grande Dunes resident Gerald Ogden. “We don’t trust LStar,” Grande Dunes resident Gary Foster said. “If we grant them access, what’s to keep them from changing the covenant and later on saying ‘the gate’s not working, let’s leave it up.’”
“We’ve got our life savings in here,” Ogden said.
A petition has been circulated throughout the Grande Dunes community. Dozens of Grande Dunes residents also clogged a city council meeting last week to protest the road, but council members declined to discuss the issue because it was not part of their official agenda for the workshop session. Grande Dunes neighbors have described the new road as a thoroughfare. Mayor John Rhodes said, however, “that’s not going to happen.”
“It’s not an item on the agenda, so we’re really not going to discuss it any further,” Rhodes said. “I hate to say it and see you all come down like this for a waste of time, but I do appreciate the impact and the information you’re giving us about the way the community feels and the petition. That will help us a lot with information we need to know.”
When Grande Dunes residents state that they do not trust LSTAR, a recent history of activity exists creating such distrust. LSTAR and Burroughs and Chapin (B&C – a local Myrtle Beach Corporation) have had several interesting deals over just the past few years.
Many Grande Dunes and Dunes Club members rightly believe that a new wave of Chinese citizens, wooed by Mayor Rhodes, are ideal clients for the many homes in the new Grande Dunes North neighborhood. As MyrtleBeachSC.com reported, B&C sold LSTAR a tract of Oceanfront land in the Dunes Club that LSTAR then flipped to Chinese investors for $25 million. That sell and purchase lead to a lawsuit between B&C and Lowes Foods. See the video below for just how LSTAR and B&C lost considerable trust in this transaction.
Eroding trust between North End City residents and the Mayor have only compounded the problem.
Mayor John Rhodes has traveled to China over 8 different occasions recently, negotiating the deal that ultimately lead to the sale of B&C’s golf courses to a group of Chinese investors. These same Chinese investors later purchased the $25 million oceanfront Dunes Club property with the now intentions of building a high rise hotel in that quiet neighborhood. It is clear that the blood lines between Mayor Rhodes, the Chinese, B&C and LSTAR run deep.
In hushed corners, North End City residents have already begun calling our mayor, China John. “He has completely sold out and does not work for any of us. John Rhodes has no chance of getting re-elected if my vote counts,” said one Grande Dunes resident who asked not to have his name mentioned.