Councilmembers not seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to Horry County development

Updated: Oct. 1, 2019 at 11:38 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Tensions were high at the Horry County Council meeting after leaders voted to rezone around 100 acres off Old Highway 90.

It’s a request that raised questions from the public and also had one leader pushing for changes Tuesday night.

The proposal asked the council to approve 69 lots that measure out to be 10,000 square foot lots on 99 acres of land.

“Our planning commission recommended that you vote no on this because it is not responsible development," one woman said.

What makes this parcel of land different than other areas across the county?

“I can tell you staff’s recommendation is not from the 2040 plan. Staff’s recommendation is from the 2025 plan. It’s two separate ways that it’s written. But both of them refer to this as scenic and conservation lands on this parcel," explained David Schwerd who works with planning and zoning.

The Envision 2025 plan says parcels of land that provide ecosystem services such as Carolina Bays, wetlands, areas of rare or endangered plants and animal species, wildlife habitats, pristine forests, floodplains and agricultural lands with above-average soil qualities are included in this category.

The Future Land Use Strategy stresses the importance of protecting these highly valuable natural areas from any use that could undermine their ecological function. Not only do these lands serve a natural function, such as clean air and water and flood control, they also provide recreational opportunities for the public.

So some are worried.

“It is not my place to tell any person, business or corporation what to do with their land, but when my friend’s home has become an island or Highway 90 a river, I tend to get concerned,” a young lady said to council.

The engineer behind the proposal said they will and always have built to code.

In the end, the council voted 7-5 in favor of the project. Afterward, members of council discussed the possibility of adding a new ordinance to the proposed envision 2040 plan.

“Do we have a vehicle in place, a statute, an ordinance that we can require the developer to put up some type of bond to guarantee that this development is not going to flood Pelican Bay?" asked councilmember Harold Worley.

“Who would want to do that?" one council member asked.

“It’s not right to put that water down there when they have never flooded before," Worley answered.

“Is that something we can take up in the 2040 plan?" asked Dennis DiSabato.

“Mr. Worley why in the world are you, I don’t understand you, because of this I’ve been around here to a long time and it’s never had any flooding in that area in my lifetime,” councilmember Paul Prince said.

“I just said that Paul," Worley said.

“I’ve looked at it, anything can flood if the lord sends enough water,” Prince said.

“And that’s the problem right now in Horry County is just that attitude that you got. These people out there with water two feet deep in their homes, how about that?" Worley replied.

To see the full Envision 2025 plan, you can click here.

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