Horry County Council votes 'yes' to $16 million for new public safety radio system

Horry County Council votes 'yes' to $16 million for new public safety radio system

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Council members made their third and final vote Tuesday night on millions of dollars in funding to upgrade a crucial system they use to keep the community safe.

The money, $16 million, was excess funds from the Ride II capital project. It will now go towards expanding and transitioning the county's P-25 radio system.

Right now, it operates in an analog format, and according to county officials, it will be obsolete come the end of 2016. The county is upgrading it to a digital format that will also expand the system county wide.

Horry County Council also voted on their first reading of an amendment to zoning requirements of the old Bay Tree Golf Course property in Little River.

The 530 acre golf course off Highway 9 was closed in 2005. At that time it was rezoned as a PDD, or planned development district. This mixed-use area would allow for 1,700 single family and multi-family homes along with commercial space to be developed. But Horry County spokeswoman, Lisa Bourcier, says right about the time when the golf course closed is when the economy tanked. Not many developers had the cash flow to take on such a big task.

Ownership of the golf course has changed hands within the last few years. So at the council meeting, members voted to amend the PDD so the owners can get moving. The plan is to still keep the entire property as a mixed-use area with single family and multi-family homes, but reduce the density. So the original PDD would've allowed 1,700 homes to be built. But the amendment would cut that down to 1,550 homes. It would also reduce the commercial square footage that could be built.

On top of that the amendment calls for some extra improvements, including a 19.5 acre park. The plans will also realign the intersection in front of the golf course and Seacoast Medical Center.

"It would realign the entrance," says Bourcier. "And if it does get approved, there would be a stoplight right there at that hospital at that intersection. Which would be greatly needed especially for the units that are being proposed to be developed on that property."

Some of the biggest improvements would be with increasing storm water capacity. The plan recommends 40% of the property would be retention ponds. This area desperately needs the extra capacity as it is prone to flooding.

This was the first time the amendment has gone before county council. A public input section will be allowed during the second reading, which will be in January.

Another amendment up for a first reading on Tuesday night was the food truck ordinance. It was passed earlier this year, but, in the plans, council set directions to review it after 180 days to see if anything needed to be changed.

Council approved amendments tonight that would change the permitting process in order to streamline it. The amendment would allow for more zoning districts where mobile food vending would be allowed. It also relaxes duplicate requirements between different agencies. For some of the food safety regulations, the county will defer to DHEC. Because Bourcier says what DHEC requires for mobile food vendors satisfies the county's standards. Same goes for the requirements with the DMV. Also, the county will no longer require criminal background checks. Bourcier says that was becoming too difficult for the county to track.

"Whatever we can do to make sure we protect the community from mobile food vending trucks, make sure that they're getting adequate service." Says Bourcier. "And making it still palatable for people to obtain a permit and actually make money on this type of business as well."

Right now, Bourcier says the majority of permits have been requested for small food carts and ice cream trucks, not for full-size food trucks. This was the first reading of this amendment. It must pass three readings.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.