‘I’m seeing a train wreck’: Residents fight proposed development along Highway 701

Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:44 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 9:25 AM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Plans to bring a few hundred new homes to the Loris area have some folks living nearby up in arms.

Dozens voiced their concerns to a project engineer at a community meeting Wednesday night.

Given that several dozen homeowners have signed a petition, and some are discussing taking legal action, it certainly seems the fight will carry on.

An engineer tried to make some changes to this plan to get them more on board, but ultimately, the majority just want to see less homes along Highway 701.

“People who work and have to go to school are going to be burdened by this traffic,” said community member David Hoch during the meeting.

“Have you accounted for the school buses that will have to cross with this traffic,” another asked the project engineer.

“I’m seeing a train wreck, right there, going left,” said yet another community member during the meeting.

Folks living in Porters Bay off Highway 701 have a number of concerns with the project, but no one issue is bigger than the impact on the roads.

It’s the same issue that led the area’s county councilman, Danny Hardee, to ask to defer a vote in December on the project to bring more than 250 new homes on a little more than 100 acres.

“We’ve got 2,000 people coming here every month,” said Hardee. “You do that times 10 or 12 years, you’re looking at another 200,000 to 300,000 people traveling on the same roads you have today.”

The engineering team spent the past few months trying to improve the project and address those concerns.

The new proposal adds a new water main connection to improve water pressure, additional drainage across the property, and turn lanes on to and off of Highway 701 to cope with traffic.

“The engineers came back with solutions to the three major issues that homeowners in Porters Bay brought up at the last meeting,” said Kathleen Moyer, who lives nearby.

But the engineers didn’t change the total number of homes or make the lot sizes any bigger.

“Would anyone want to get on an airliner that’s 50 percent over the number of seats,” said Hoch. “You wouldn’t want to do that. Why do we do that with our planet?”

With yet another hotly contested development proposal, Hardee finds himself in a familiar spot between a rock and a hard place when it comes to voting on the project.

“It’s called growing pains and you try to take the situation,” said Hardee. “Each development is on its own. Some work, some don’t.”

He’ll have the chance to decide if this one works in a couple of months.

The project will likely be up for county council approval at the beginning of May.

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