HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A vote was made at Horry County Council’s meeting that will impact every single current and future resident in some way.
After nearly two years of meetings, workshops, and input the Imagine 2040 plan was voted into law.
Over the last 10 years, more than 85,000 people have moved to Horry County, increasing its population to more than 350,000, people. The population is expected to increase to around 584,000 people over the next 20 years.
With this rapid increase of growth, a plan was needed to be put in place to handle the flooding issues, development of new neighborhoods and preserving the scenic and conservation areas throughout the county.
“Building is going to go, we’re going to keep building and keep having people come down here and at least we can do it smartly and this is a step in the right direction,” said Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner.
Prior to the vote being made, Horry County Councilman Dennis DiSabato proposed two amendments to the plan. The first amendment would ensure surrounding zoning areas are taken into consideration for new requests. The second change made sure the county council had the final say in all zoning matters.
“We are the elected officials, we are the only ones that are answerable to the voting public and so the final decision-making authority should rest with us and not planning commission or staff,” DiSabato said.
This sparked a bigger conversation about changes that need to be done to Commercial Forest Agriculture, or CFA, zoning areas that the council hopes to take on next.
“Now I don’t know legally what the next step is for doing that, but it puts council in a bad space because a developer can come in and say, ‘If you don’t let us do this, we’re doing that,’ and it’s something that’s been on the books for a long time and something that we’re going to look hard at next year,” Gardner said.
Now that the Imagine 2040 plan is in place, county leaders will use this as a guide for how the approach traffic issues, flooding concerns, the population’s needs and development in all areas.