Neighbors raise concerns over thousands of new homes coming to Longs

Thousands of homes to be built in flood-prone area of Horry County

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - As residents in the Longs area are still working to get back in their houses, thousands of new homes could be going up right alongside them.

Twenty-seven incomplete or undeveloped areas are working to become new communities, according to the Horry County Planning and Zoning Department. A map from the department shows these new developments will add up to 7,000 units.

"I heard for a while they were building new developments but I had no idea that many were in the works,” said Polo Farms resident Kyran Connelly.

Like many other residents, Kyran Connelly is worried an increase in homes will equal more flooding. When he moved to the area, Connelly says he was told the area behind his home was wetlands.

Now, it’s the location of dozens of homes. He said the creek behind their home never flooded in the past, but now it has no where to go when the Waccamaw is at flood level.

"Now some of these new houses won't have that same situation. They're not going to be right on water. But the driveways, the streets are just going to make matters worse because there's no where for the water to go,” said Connelly.

These proposed developments aren’t directly in flood zones, but residents said they’re worried new neighborhoods could cause there homes to flood.

WMBF News took those questions to Dr. Paul Gayes, Professor of Marine and Wetland Studies and a member of the South Carolina Stormwater Commission.

"A lot of things will impact flooding. There’s water coming into your neighborhood and it’s how fast it can go out. The pathways in which it moves become very important. So, if there’s development or other obstructions, it could be snags in the river, it changes the plumbing and the rate it moves around. Certainly how we modify and manipulate the system it will affect our flooding,” he said.

WMBF News reached out to Horry County’s Stormwater Manager, Tom Gerigan with these concerns.

“All these developments will be required to comply with our very strict stormwater ordinance and must perform a downstream analysis to guard against aggravating any localized flooding issues on adjacent or downstream properties. The major floods that we have experienced in recent years is not the result of new development since the Waccamaw River watershed is still less than 2% impervious,” Gerigan said in an email to WMBF News. “These major floods are caused by the extraordinary amount of rain that fell in the river basins that drain to Horry County. During Hurricane Florence the rainfall was in excess of a 500 year storm.”

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