Carolina Forest booming with new businesses and homes- but why?

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -  Carolina Forest is a community nestled between the city of Myrtle Beach and the city of Conway. There are several businesses currently being built in the community, as well as many housing projects in the works.

Murray Stahler owns Murray & Mike's Catering store that sits in a plaza on Postal Way in Carolina Forest. Stahler opened his doors for the first time in Carolina Forest on Monday, after moving from The Market Common.

"That sign doesn't belong or this sign doesn't belong. We want it to look like this and we want you to sell this. When you sign up to do a store there you have to get it ok'ed by what your menu is, what your hours are," Stahler said.

Stahler said, besides having more creative freedom with owning a store in Carolina Forest, there are other perks.

"It's more of an older single where here it's gonna be more families and kids," Stahler said.

Stahler isn't alone with having a desire to either work or live in Carolina Forest. Right now, new homes are being built in several neighborhoods including the Farm, Waterbridge and Summerlyn.

"We have significant homes being built here so that's a vote of confidence by purchasers that they want to live here," Carolina Forest Civic Association President Bo Ives said.

So, why are so many homeowners and business owners choosing Carolina Forest? Stahler explained one possible reason.

"The homeowner insurance is a lot cheaper out here because you're away from the water. Once you get near the water, it goes skyrocketing. I know one of our businesses State Farm wouldn't even cover because it was within a two mile distance of the ocean," Stahler said.

But there's a catch that comes with the boom in businesses and homes in Carolina Forest- the traffic.

"Basically when traffic comes through Carolina Forest, they're coming off of 31 which is four lanes, onto Grissom Parkway or International Drive which are four lanes, to the initial section of River Oaks which is four lanes to a two lane road," Ives said.

Ives said he found out Monday that some of Horry County's local leaders are talking about including the approximately $12M Carolina Forest widening project into a new riding on a penny sales tax initiative, which Ives said is a step in the right direction.

"And that's great news because they all understand for the area to flourish we need to repair the problems in Carolina Forest, the traffic needs to move smoothly," Ives said.

Right now there is not a Ride III tax initiative program proposal. Ride II is set to expire in May 2014. It would take voter's passing a referendum for a Ride III program to be implemented.

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