MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A quiet neighborhood could see a huge change from the golf course community homeowners moved into. The Horry County Planning Commission is allowing parts of Wicked Stick Golf Links course to be available for commercial use.
A petition signed by nearly 300 neighbors was not enough to stop the way the county wants to zone the Wicked Stick golf course.
The golf course is split into three main sections for zoning purposes. Two of those are zoned as residential and have pending contracts right now, but the third parcel is what's in question.
On Thursday night, the Horry County Planning Commission made the decision to move forward with the rezone plans to make about 35 acres up front near Highway 17, a RE4, which could allow developers to buy the land for commercial use. Developers could purchase the property to build big box stores, something residents say they do not want to see in their backyards.
Residents say they would like to see RE1 or RE2 built on the land, businesses that would be smaller in detail.
Residents say they're worried about the change to their quiet neighborhoods. But more importantly, they are worried that if the county rezones the land for a big box store, it could attract traffic and present a safety concern for their residents.
Lou Krieger, a Southwood Resident, was the spokesperson at the meeting. He spoke to WMBF News after the commission made their recommendation. “Since Horry County is eliminating the highway commercial codes and morphing them into a RE1, 2, 3, or 4, the RE1 which is a neighborhood retail district applies more to the Southwood Neighborhood community, than a RE4 which would with a big box store coming in.”
The commission gave a unanimous favor to allow the 35 acres plus the seven residential acres of the Wicked Stick golf course to be sold as an RE4 commercial land.
Rob Wilfong, Horry County Planning Commission Chairman said the problem goes back to 2006 and they are simply trying to fix that problem.
“There was a 2006 agreement with that Homeowner's Association that resulted in the map that was shown, we had to straighten that out. Somehow there was a miscommunication," Wilfong said. “What we were really trying to do is clean up what was currently done as a zoning action, to be consistent with what was done in 2006.”
But now residents feel they are getting the short end of the stick. One big reason: those that live near the golf course paid higher premiums for those spots. There's also the concern about how their quiet neighborhood could change, in addition to the traffic and safety concerns that would arise if a big box store would be built on the land.
In a previous interview with WMBF News, Krieger stated the residents are all for development, they just want to make sure it's the right kind of development for the area.
Krieger stated, “We had limited information from our HOA president prior to this. We did call him on the phone, and his stance all along has been to leave it the way they negotiated it back in 2006, he felt that it was a hand shake and a gentleman's deal.”
The commission's recommendation must now go before the Horry County Council to be heard in three readings. The second reading is where public input will be considered.
“I always do, I encourage everyone that comes to our [Horry County Planning Commission] meetings to follow through, go to county council and make yourselves heard, because again, we're just making a recommendation,” Wilfong explained.
Krieger said it is something they plan to do. “We're going to just go into the county council meeting for the three readings, and present the petitions, and even present some more. I will get the petition reworded to where it states we're against an RE4 designation for a commercial land and we rather see an RE1 or 2 and take that before the county council and see how that floats," he said."
The Horry County Council first reading is scheduled for December 8. The second reading will take place in January.