New apartment complex worries Carolina Forest homeowners

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A proposed affordable housing project has neighbors in a Carolina Forest community concerned it could have negative effects on both their property values, and the safety of the neighborhood.

"They want to build 311 units in a small area that's close to a school," said homeowner Robert Hans. "It's going to lower everybody's property values. You might not see it the first year, but you've got to think about the future."

Hans was just one of a dozen concerned homeowners from Ashley Park, Windsor Green, and other nearby communities who turned out to voice opposition at an Horry County Planning and Zoning Workshop.

The Gateway Residential project was initially designed as condominium complex similar to Windsor Green and Ashley Park. Now, the developers want it rezoned for 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments. Homeowners are afraid that kind of complex would attract the wrong kind of tenant.

"I'm not putting down renters," said Nick Campopiano, another concerned homeowner. "Don't get me wrong, there are some very, very good renters out there. But we just want what's good for our community."

In a phone conversation, Steve Powell, an engineer for the project, said Gateway Carolina Forest is being marketed to seniors and older couples. He also said the proposed changes, while creating more units, actually reduces the number of bedrooms.

Still, neighbors say they aren't convinced the proposed layout is the right layout.

"It may be less bedrooms, but not less beds," said Campopiano.

A public meeting for the zoning changes will be held at the Horry County Government and Justice Center on February 10th.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.