HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Homeowners along one Horry County street say that road conditions are so bad, they’re worried emergency responders won’t be able to get to them.
Residents living on Deerfield Avenue were scared that was going to be the case on Saturday when firefighters raced to the neighborhood to battle a condo fire. They said the potholes are not just a headache, they’re a public safety issue.
“Speaking with some of the firefighters, and we knew this was going to happen, their response was delayed due to the conditions of the roads,” William Connolly, a Crossgate Villas board member, said.
Connolly is a retired police officer and says he knows first hand a four-minute delay for first responders can mean life or death.
“That couple extra minutes delay could have been a tragedy for us and that’s what we’re all concerned about," Connolly said.
So why haven't the roads been fixed if they are such an issue?
Deerfield Avenue is part of an 18-acre piece of land owned by a private company called Deerfield Roads LLC, based in Tennessee. This means the county is not responsible for maintenance, the LLC is.
But homeowners say Horry County needs to step in.
“They should be going after the owner, I don’t care if it’s private property or not," Connolly said. "You shouldn’t be able to keep a property in that disastrous condition that is causing a public hazard.”
“I think it’s a safety hazard, not only for the county, I think this is a hazard for all of the residents who live down this road,” said Crossgate resident Mike Redman.
Horry County spokesperson Kelly Moore says there’s nothing the county can do with regards to compelling the owner to make improvements.
She says there are options though for the residents and homeowners affected by this road:
- Do nothing
- Get the owner to turn the road over to the county
- With approval from the road owner, the residents can pay someone to improve the road
- Petition for a special assessment, where there would be a one-time tax assessment to pay for the county to fix the road this one time
- Petition for a special tax district, where the residents would pay a special tax for a set period of time for the county to bring the road up to county standards and maintain the road. After that set period of time, the road would be enveloped into the county’s general budget
Homeowners say they tried to reach the LLC more than two years ago so this can happen.
“You can’t get a hold of him,” one resident said. “Now he has a different attorney, his attorney here retired about a year ago. The new attorney doesn’t answer and is not listed in the telephone book.”
And homeowners ask: Why can't the county condemn the road like they can a home?
“If you had a dilapidated house, the county would take it over and either tear it down or sell it at auction," Redman said. "In this particular place, the county can take it over and fix it.”
This all meaning that homeowners are still left without answers as to when the road could be fixed.