Developer hopes to introduce a new concept of affordable housing to Carolina Forest

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A developer is looking to introduce a new concept in the style of affordable housing to the Carolina Forest area. But, will the community accept it?

Nearly 100 homes could be coming to a 12-acre piece of land on Village Center Boulevard in Carolina Forest. But these homes are a little different, in terms of size. They would be detached, single-family, cottage-style homes, all on one common piece of property -- similar to ones you may have seen in The Market Common.
Horry County Deputy Director of Planning and Zoning, David Schwerd, said these homes are smaller than your average home, but not quite considered "tiny homes." They can range from as small as 500 to around 1,000 square feet. He said the intent of this project is to build a community of more affordable-type homes aimed at a variety of age groups. This development would be considered a "walkable" community, with easy access to stores and restaurants in the area.

Schwerd said there's more of a demand for people who want to live closer in a more urbanized setting.

"The developer's idea is... they're trying to fill a market niche, where people who are ready to not be in an apartment or a condo, but they don't want to maintain the large yard or even a smaller yard. They want to have a place where the houses are more affordable, because they're not having to pay for all that open area in the grass and be able to walk to those kinds of services at night time… without having to get out and get in the car every time they want to go to the grocery store, every time they want to get a pizza. They'd be able to just get out and walk to it," said Schwerd.

Schwerd said the developers would need to go through a re-zoning action, because the property is currently zoned for highway commercial.

He said anytime development happens in Carolina Forest, there are challenges when it comes to roads and projects in the area. Additional traffic is also a concern, but Schwerd said this particular community has better access out than most since it sits on a loop that connects with River Oaks Drive.

Anthony Browning is the owner of House Finder Realty and One Punch Fitness, just down the street from the proposed development and he said he's for this new concept.

"We think it's a fabulous idea, because not only will it be more opportunity for us to have folks come and see One Punch Fitness next door, but also we work with a lot of buyer clients… and with that there's some shortage of inventory right now in the markets. So, in that price point that's affordable for the working professionals, families. It's a dynamite opportunity for us to work with buyers, finding them the proper home for them and their family, but then also when selling client in the future, when people move into the neighborhood and want to move out. We're excited about a new neighborhood in the area," said Browning.

The developer requested deferral on the project last night at the Planning Commission meeting. It will now be reconsidered at the next meeting on June 7.

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