Horry County Council deferred consideration of second reading of an ordinance to rezone a parcel of land on Four Mile Road until its first meeting in February 2020.
The deferral was taken to allow the developer to discuss a stormwater runoff plan for the project with county planning staff that will address concerns of surrounding residents.
However, after listening to public input from both sides of the rezoning, those opposing it and the developer, and to questions from council, it seems obvious that requesting the stormwater plan is a delaying tactic.
While stormwater runoff has to be a consideration with any current or future development, especially when considering the flooding that has happened in the county in three of the last five years, it is not the central issue of contention in this particular rezoning.
The central issue is that this particular parcel is inside the boundaries of what is known as the 319 Area Plan, a plan adopted in 2011 whose goal is to protect the rural heritage of this corridor between Conway and Aynor.
The 319 Area Plan stipulates that single family housing requires half acre lots for each home built. The rezoning request is for quarter acre lots for 202 single family homes.
However, the current zoning for the parcel is commercial forest agriculture (CFA) a zoning designation that predates the adoption of and is grandfathered into the 319 Area Plan.
CFA zoning allows multi-family housing with a density of three units per acre for the gross acreage being developed. This means the developer can build, on this parcel, a total of 387 multi-family units without any approval from council required.
The 319 Area Plan cannot stop the multi-family development. The public input from those opposing the rezoning and questions from some council members appeared to demonstrate ignorance of that fact.