Council members say development criteria has to change in Horry County

Horry County Council discusses development, flooding issues

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Council members say they need to look at what they’re approving when it comes to allowing developers to build in certain areas.

This happened during a more than three-hour-long council meeting Tuesday night where a majority of the agenda consisted of development requests.

One of the final items on the agenda of the meeting was a request to rezone around 79 acres of land, 40 of which is wetlands.

Beverly Homes LLC is the developer of this property off Highway 90 near Tilly Swamp Road. During Tuesday’s meeting, a request was made to change the zoning to build 125 single-family homes on 10,000 square-foot lots, which would include the wetlands.

A 19-year-old spoke at the meeting saying she grew up on a farm not far from this area and says she has seen firsthand how development is affecting the area and believes it should stop.

“I implore you, don’t put the cart before the horse, don’t bring these families into schools that are at capacity, unprotected communities, and homes that have unwillingly become waterfront homes," the young woman said.

Another man says that over the past several years, he’s seen flooding around his home and it’s not because of hurricanes.

“It is a direct result of Beverly Homes diverting their water from the development they built onto my property. That retaining wall is my backyard, that river runs through there at approximately five feet deep," the man said.

Forest Beverly, whose family owns the development company, says they were unaware of this issue and will look into it.

“We’re here, we’re trying to work it out. We’re not somebody who is just trying to get this project approved and flip it to somebody else,” said Beverly.

But Councilman Danny Hardee, whose name is on this rezoning, says this brings to light a much bigger issue.

“We need to be able to say ‘You can’t use these wetlands in your total number of homes.’ And we’ve also got to get with our stormwater and whatever we can do to stop this right here. You know, I think Mr. Beverly is sincere that he didn’t want to dumb that on somebody,"' said Hardee. "I don’t know of anybody that would want to dump that on somebody but we’ve got to have some laws and teeth in our stormwater where we can say look this has happened, we’re going to stop it and this is how we’re going to stop it.”

Hardee’s fellow councilman, Harold Worley, agrees and says if something doesn’t change, council members’ positions will change.

“If we don’t do something about it, I can tell you who will - that’s the voters. Voters will throw us out of office, they will throw us out of office if we don’t do the right thing. And that needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed now,” Worley said.

A workshop is being planned to discuss a variety of issues that would put greater restrictions on developers. Meanwhile, this agenda item did pass and will move on to a third reading.

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