Horry County responds to petition to put new development on hold

Published: May. 6, 2019 at 6:46 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Horry County is responding to a petition by residents that asks the county to put a moratorium on new development.

The petition states that the residents of Longs, Socastee, Bucksport and Myrtle Beach have suffered a loss of property, due to floodwaters, lack of sufficient water shed and sewage infrastructure and poor planning and zoning on behalf of Horry County Planning Commission.

The petition has nearly 1,000 signatures.

“I think they need to assess and come up with a plan of what to do just to help in the future,” said Forestbrook resident Natalia Merolle.”I think it should be stopped. In fact, I spoke to most of my neighbors now and most of them would love to sign the petition. They think it absolutely needs to be done."

WMBF News took the petition to Horry County. A spokesperson released the following statement:

Horry County Government has not received a petition from residents regarding development. We have processes in place to ensure that new development does not increase the chance for flooding and our proposed comprehensive plan outlines areas that are not suitable for development. In addition, we have the strongest stormwater regulations in the state of South Carolina, and all developers must comply with those regulations. We encourage residents to be in touch with us if they have concerns about any particular development. We are offering a Planning Academy that will begin later this year that will be an opportunity for community members to learn more about planning, zoning, and development in Horry County.

WMBF News spoke to members from the stormwater department Monday. The deputy manager said any new development over half an acre must get stormwater permits from the county and state.

"Our requirements are the developments have to release water at 20% less of a rate then what was being released before they developed. So we’re reducing the amount of water off the site after developed then what was originally coming off after it was developed,” said Deputy Stormwater Manager Tom Roth. “Our designs are to meet the requirements for the 35 year and 100 year storms, so unfortunately, the flash flooding you’re seeing not just here but all over the county. We do what we can to try to eliminate that but these freak of nature storms we’re not designing to.”

However, neighbors said freak storms and 100 year floods are now happening too often.

"When I think of the word Forestbrook, I just think of the brook now because there’s no forest and it’s turning into a swamp water issue,” said Merolle. “If this is our new normal, it’s going to continue to happen. Something needs to be done.”

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