Carolina Forest golf course could soon become a major housing development

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:36 AM EDT

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Hundreds of new homes could be “on par” for a Carolina Forest golf course.

A plan is in the works to turn The Wizard into a major housing development. There have been three other attempts in the past 15 years by the owners of The Wizard to close up shop and build homes.

The Carolina Forest Civic Association president says she fought it then, and the association will fight it again. But the engineers working on the project, who are part of the G3 Engineering firm, do not want residents to look at it as a fight.

“It used to be Carolina Forest and there used to be a lot of trees around here,” said Joe Saffran, who lives in Waterford Plantation. “That’s why I built in Waterford was all the trees, and the trees are disappearing left and right.”

Saffran built his home in Waterford Plantation nearly two decades ago, and he’s seen his fair share of development all around him ever since.

G3 Engineering’s design concept for 683 new townhomes and single-family units at The Wizard is particularly close to home for Saffran.

“They’re going to develop,” said Saffran. “It’s money for somebody. It’s traffic horrors for others.”

The concept design calls for 283 townhomes and 400 single-family units.

G3 Engineering principal Felix Pitts says after the first few attempts by other engineering firms to rezone the property failed, he wants to make sure he addresses as many concerns as he can before taking the project to the next step.

“We’re on a fact-finding mission with you guys to document and take into consideration any concerns that you may have regarding our project,” said Pitts during the civic association meeting.

G3 Engineering had several tables set up with maps and pictures of the possible design for people to look at and ask questions to the consultants at each station.

The impact on the already crowded schools, the environmental impact and the loss of the golf course view that homeowners paid for were a few of the topics thrown around at those stations.

Most of the questions, however, revolved around traffic.

“The fact that you’re looking at increased traffic population, increased lines at stores, it’s going to be very difficult for people to accept,” said Carolina Forest resident Bill Berg.

Pitts says one of the concerns with the prior rezoning request was that the development would feed into Gateway Road. Therefore, his concept design would put the primary access on Postal Way.

“Access and connectivity from this project and where you all think is a good thing as opposed to where I might place it, that’s a conversation that we’d like to have,” said Pitts.

For Carolina Forest Civic Association President Carole vanSickler, those conversations weren’t enough.

The civic association has asked G3 Engineering to kill the idea before bringing it to the planning commission. If they do go forward with it, she says she won’t be fighting it alone.

“In two weeks time, we brought 150 to a ‘non-meeting,’” said vanSickler. “Imagine what we would do to the Horry County Planning Commission and Horry County Council if this does go forward.”

G3 Engineering hasn’t formally submitted a rezoning request yet.

The planning director says that could take six months to a year to get through the planning commission and county council.

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