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Horry County leaders consider requiring new homes to be built farther from roads for future widening plans

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 5:41 AM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County leaders want it to be a little safer to live along highways throughout the county.

The Horry County planning commission took a look at an idea on Thursday that would require new homes be built a little farther off the road.

“This may be one of the roadways that needs widening in the future, and as you can see, these driveways in the front of these homes are relatively close to the roadway,” said Horry County Principal Planner Leigh Kane while referring to an image of homes on Highway 90 during a planning commission workshop.

Horry County Principal Planner Leigh Kane referred to this image as an example of how close...
Horry County Principal Planner Leigh Kane referred to this image as an example of how close some setbacks are along Highway 90.(WMBF)

Although a lot of the attention goes to finding funding, there are a lot of other obstacles when it comes to widening a road to keep up with population growth.

For homes situated right off major roads, that could mean losing most, or all of their front lawn to make room for the right of way.

It could even mean losing the house.

“In many of these cases, it was going to be taken at some point in time,” said Kane. “We’d rather take the front of the property as opposed to taking their home in the future.”

To avoid eventually having to condemn new homes, Horry County is looking at a preemptive approach to road widening: bigger setbacks.

A newly proposed ordinance would increase the minimum setback off major roadways in the county from 25 to 60 feet.

It would also include several two-lane roads the county feels will eventually need to widen.

One planning commissioner lives along a two-lane highway and thinks the larger setbacks would also generally make the county safer.

“We shouldn’t build so close to a major artery that you have to back out onto the roadway and cause loss of property,” said Planning Commission District 10 Representative Jody Prince.

The plan would also establish a minimum 25-foot buffer for all major residential developments.

Although the plan hasn’t been approved yet, one engineer who requested a rezoning for 180 new homes on Pauley Swamp Road already took it into consideration.

“There’s a 25-foot buffer that we left along the road that will be common space,” said the engineer during the workshop. “We wanted to get ahead of the curve with our design.”

The ordinance was introduced during a planning commission workshop Thursday and will be voted on at next week’s meeting.

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