Horry County committee talks school traffic, neighborhood flooding, speed humps

Horry County committee talks school traffic, neighborhood flooding, speed humps

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee members met Tuesday morning to discuss various issues.

Holly Heniford, a member of the Horry County Board of Education, spoke about the traffic situation at Carolina Forest High School.

She said police officers issued 80 speeding tickets around the school in January, so their presence has alleviated some of the traffic violations.

However, the district continues to work with the county to fully fix the problem.

Heniford said the entrance to the school isn't large enough for the number of cars.

She said Myrtle Beach International owns the properties on both sides of the school, so the district would have to negotiate for easements to add any sort of additional exits.

She said it's important for the solution to be cost effective because the traffic only occurs for about two hours a day during the months school is in session.

Heniford said the school district will continue working with the county to look at land cost, measurements, regulations and options for alleviating the traffic.

Infrastructure and Regulation Committee members then heard about why the Bellegrove community flooded in October.

Tom Garigen, stormwater department head for Horry County, said Bellegrove's drainage system is built to handle a 25 year storm. The state standard is only 10 years, but the rain this past October was a 200 year storm, he said.

Garigen said the nearby 16-hundred acre wetland couldn't drain sufficiently through 48-inch pipes beneath International Drive and the overflow of water poured into the neighborhood.

He said engineers found the system was designed properly and pressure lines put through it after the storm showed the pipes didn't have any blockages.

The neighborhood also had no flooding reported from when it was built in 2008 until October 2015.

He said no drainage systems in the county can really handle such a large amount of rainfall in such a short period of time.

Garigen told the committee he is going to look at possibly raising the minimum first floor elevation to 18 inches, which is a standard some builders are using nationally.

Also, FEMA is in the process of updating Horry County flood zone maps. People received postcards this week if their properties are being affected. The county will host two open houses for people with questions about their property's flood risk status. Those meetings are scheduled for March 2 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Horry County Government and Justice Center and March 3 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Landmark Resort.

The Infrastructure and Regulation Committee members also voted to keep the current policy for homeowners associations to make decisions about the installation of speed humps.

Cherie Reid said she's seen people driving at more than 50 mph going down National Drive.

"Over a dozen mailboxes have been knocked over," she said. "We have narrow streets. We have no sidewalks and there's no other access to the golf course."

She said she thinks speed humps would help slow people down and increase safety.

However, the president of the South Creek Homeowners Association said speeding isn't a problem, the neighborhood hasn't seen any fatal accidents and mailboxes were knocked down for other reasons.

"It has nothing to do with speeding," said Kenneth Albright. "It just has to do with somebody looking down, texting as happens a lot these days."

He said Horry County's two traffic studies of the area found speed decreased from 2012 to 2015. The neighborhood still qualifies for speed humps for other reasons.

"We qualify due to the volume of traffic and the fact that we do not have sidewalks, but that doesn't mean that we have to have it," Albright said.

Albright said the residents he has talked to don't want the speed humps, so the homeowners association members voted against them in December.

"Detrimental to property values and it will cause damage to vehicles over a period of time," he said.

Albright said the person pushing for the speed humps consistently complains about HOA decisions.

Reid said she's not the only one concerned. She said a petition found more than half of those asked wanted the speed humps.

"We're saying inconvenience shouldn't matter," she said. "It should be a safety issue."

She said the residents should have a greater say in the community.

"Unless people get involved, it always seems like a few people are doing everything and that's the not the way a community should be run," Reid said.

However, HOA board members said that petition has never been presented to them and they do represent the community's needs.

"We try to do the best we can for our residents," Albright said. "We try to make sure that they have an input. We have monthly meetings."

The committee members agreed the HOA board represents the neighborhood, and therefore, should retain the decision making power for speed hump installation rather than a majority vote of residents in HOA neighborhoods.

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