After more than a year of debate, new homes could be on the way for Gardner Lacy Road

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 7:05 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 1:04 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The view when driving along part of Gardner Lacy Road may turn from trees to houses soon.

The Horry County Planning Commission voted in favor of a proposal to add new homes near Carolina Forest High School, much to the chagrin of the 50 or so people in attendance to protest the idea.

A room full of Carolina Forest residents made sure the planning commission was aware of where they stand on an idea to add more houses to Gardner Lacy Road.

For some, the issue is flooding. Others are concerned about increased traffic.

“When you make this surface impervious, that water has to flow somewhere,” said one Carolina Forest resident.

“Jam as many houses on there as we can and add more automobiles traveling dead end Gardner Lacy Road,” added another.

These issues have been a recurring theme for this project dating back to February 2021, when folks living in the area formed a roadside protest. At the time, a developer was looking to add more than 100 town homes.

After seeing the push-back, it was scaled back to 60 single-family homes, but that plan failed. But now, the developer is looking to add 11 homes lining the southside of Gardner Lacy Road.

One resident appreciated the reduction in size, pointing out 11 new homes wouldn’t be as bad as some of the commercial uses developers could already put there.

“The devil we don’t know could be 90 foot,” said that resident. “The devil we don’t know could be a gas station 24/7.”

But the vast majority still feel the area can’t support anymore growth.

“Whether it be one home, 11 or a future application of 29 on the other tract of Plum Branch, we’re opposed,” said Carolina Forest Civic Association President Carole vanSickler.

The engineer feels he’s made necessary changes to accommodate those concerns.

“They don’t support anything,” said project engineer Felix Pitts. “Not one more house for a permit to be pulled out there, they don’t support it. That is unreasonable Mr. Chairman.”

The planning commission sided with the engineer with a 9-1 vote, which means the plan will bring a positive recommendation to county council for final approval.

While the new homes for Gardner Lacy Rod took a big step forward Thursday night, another major development didn’t have quite as good fortune.

Earlier this week, the county council voted in favor of a 55 megawatt solar farm that’s on the way to the Bucksport area.

It looked like that solar farm may have had a few hundred new neighbors.

There was a proposal to add nearly 400 new homes on 175 acres along Highway 701, but the planning commission voted against that one, believing it was too drastic a development for such a rural community.

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