HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County Planning and Zoning Department announced that it will be working closely with the South Carolina Department of Transportation to more heavily enforce encroachment rules, particularly along U.S. 501.
Horry County leaders say some businesses are pushing their storefront products too close to the edge of the highway, and that's a concern for safety and construction reasons.
Lisa Bourcier, spokesperson for Horry County, says the rule has been in place for years, but the problem just recently began to get worse.
She says car dealerships are some of the businesses that occasionally break this rule.
The owners of many dealerships say they try to put their cars for sale as close to the road as possible in order to attract attention to their store.
However, the general rule of thumb in Horry County is that they must keep the cars behind the line of telephone poles. That leaves enough space along the side of U.S. 501 for emergency vehicles and construction crews to use when needed.
Mark McGowen, owner loyalty manager at Grand Strand Nissan, said the encroachment rule is well known and supported within his company.
"I think everyone needs to follow the laws and the rules just to make it safe for everyone involved," McGowan said. "This is the property of the county and they need to be able to get vehicles in and out of here as need be."
Bourcier said this rule is going to become even more important when the county begins construction to widen U.S. 501, because construction vehicles will definitely need to use the right-of-ways then.
At this point, Bourcier said the county hopes the businesses will comply on their own, but if they have to, they will write warnings and implement fines to businesses who block the right-of-ways.