Tag: Horry County Council

H. C. Solid Waste Authority Pledges County General Fund for Closure and Post-Closure Costs

Horry County Council will vote tonight on third and final reading for next fiscal year’s budget, which begins July 1, 2024.
The general fund of the budget, approximately $270 million, pays for most of the goods and services provided by county government. Approximately 70% of the general fund pays for public safety services.
The SWA is a component unit of Horry County Government established by county ordinance 60-90. Its budget is included in the annual budget for the county and receives final approval from county council. The SWA bylaws and other rules must be approved by county council. SWA board members must be approved by county council.
When the SWA was created, it was specifically mandated by council, in Ordinance 60-90, to find alternative means of disposing county garbage rather than maintaining an ever-increasing landfill next to Sterritt Swamp. Instead, the SWA has done the exact opposite, continually expanding the landfill area in what is identified as an environmentally sensitive area in Ord. 60-90.

Below the Radar with the Santee Cooper/Grand Strand Humane Society Land Deal

After the Grand Strand Humane Society withdrew a rezoning request for a plot of land off River Oaks Drive in Carolina Forest last June, due to strong opposition from neighborhood residents, its search for a new plot of land on which to locate its proposed new animal shelter complex went under the radar until it could be presented as a fait accompli.
As noted in a January 12, 2024, letter from Waterside Drive resident Rose Marie Johnson to Santee Cooper, after the withdrawal of the rezoning request, “County Council made a clear statement to the (humane) society that they should not try to place their Dog Pound close to a residential location.”
Early on, Santee Cooper executives were involved in the search for a new location for the animal shelter. According to documents received through Freedom of Information Act requests, on June 20, 2023, Santee Cooper Board of Directors Vice Chairman and Horry County seat appointee David Singleton contacted Santee Cooper Senior Director of Real Estate Dan Camp questioning whether Santee Cooper had “8-10 acres near Myrtle Beach that could be used for the humane society.”
The next day, Camp emailed Santee Cooper Chief Power Supply Officer Marty Watson to apprise him of the Singleton conversation. Camp told Singleton he (Camp) and Watson had briefly discussed the matter on June 20, 2023, and Camp and Watson would “see what was available.”
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Chairman Gardner Calls 2023 Good Year, 2024 Better Year to Come

Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner presented his State of the County address to council members and the public last week highlighting progress by county council and staff in serving the citizens of the county.
Gardner said the council in collaboration with staff and the general public was shaping a bright future for the county. He said, “Council drafted, debated and passed ordinances designed to ensure a high quality of life for those who call our county home.”
Gardner noted the council initiated programs to build and widen roads, improve drainage systems, limit rezonings, protect native trees, create affordable housing opportunities and assess redevelopment needs and guide growth. He said community well-being and public safety remain top priorities for the county.
Toward that end, Gardner noted the county purchased six new firetrucks and seven new ambulances last year with more to come and that the county would be opening three new fire stations to serve growing areas of the county.
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DiSabato Asks for Another Deferral on Postal Way Rezonings

Tuesday night was supposed to be the night that Horry County Council would vote up or down on second reading of two rezonings, Chatham Crossing and Waters Tract, on Postal Way in the Carolina Forest area.
It didn’t happen. Instead, council member Dennis DiSabato moved for a second three-month deferral for the two rezonings, which were originally supposed to be voted upon at the May 16, 2023 regular meeting of council.
The citizens of Carolina Forest have never been in favor of these two rezonings. They expressed multiple concerns about the developments that would result during two community input events during Carolina Forest Civic Association meetings.
The minutes of the May 16th meeting provide interesting reading. During discussion before the motion to defer, DiSabato stated, “He and the developer had heard everyone’s concerns at the public input meeting they had in Carolina Forest a couple days prior. The developer had asked for a deferment, not for 90 days, but for a period not to exceed 90 days. They wanted an opportunity to go back to their client to see if there was anything that they could do to expand on the infrastructure to try and make this project more palatable to the community. They either would figure out very quickly that they could, or they could not. In either event, it would come back as something the community supported, and if not, it would come back quicker than 90 days and would be voted up or down based on what that outcome was.”
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Postal Way Rezonings Back on Council Agenda with No Changes from Three Months Ago

Horry County Council will consider second reading and hold public input on the two controversial rezonings along Postal Way at its regular meeting tomorrow night.
The two parcels of land, Waters Tract and Chatham Crossing, will add 1,654 new residential units and some new commercial development in an already crowded area.
The rezonings were deferred for a period of 92 days at the request of council member Dennis DiSabato, ostensibly to see if criticisms of the rezonings, voiced by Carolina Forest residents, could be addressed in the development agreements associated with the projects.
According to the language in the development agreements, which will be considered for second reading, nothing has changed in either development agreement from what was presented to council three months ago.
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Increase Fees on New Residential Construction or No Reelection?

Two years ago, Horry County Council imposed impact fees on new construction for the first time in county history. Two years prior to the impact fee ordinance, 72% of county voters had said YES to impact fees in an advisory referendum.
During the first two readings of the impact fee ordinance, the maximum possible fee of $6,645 per single family home was passed with other types of construction also being charged the maximum fee allowed by state law formula.
On third reading, then council member Johnny Vaught amended the ordinance to reduce the fee by 81.4% to a rate of $1,236 per single family home. Seven other council members joined Vaught in bowing to pressure from the development lobby to make the fee nominal. Those same eight council members voted to increase property taxes that same year by 7.5 mills, the maximum allowed by state law formula. Five of those eight council members will be up for reelection next year. Two others have already been replaced on council.
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Postal Way Rezonings – A Tale of Two Development Agreements

By Paul Gable
For several months, county taxpayers, especially residents of Carolina Forest, have been told that their Council District 3 representative, Dennis DiSabato, is supporting two rezoning requests on Postal Way, which will add approximately 1,654 new residential units to an already crowded area, only because the developers will pay the total cost of the new public benefit infrastructure associated with the two proposed developments.
The residents aren’t buying the fact that just because developers are paying for some extra infrastructure is reason to support the projects. Residents have voiced continued concerns that adding any more housing density to the already crowded area will only add more overcrowding to already clogged roads and schools.
Citizens opposing the projects, a number of whom were at the council meeting last week, have taken to voicing their complaints to council member Mike Masciarelli, whose council district is located across U. S. 501 from Council District 3.
Masciarelli attempted to give voice to some of the criticisms which he had heard from citizens during last week’s council discussion. DiSabato challenged Masciarelli as to why citizens from District 3 were calling Masciarelli instead of DiSabato. Masciarelli said maybe it was because they were looking for somebody who would listen to their concerns.
DiSabato is obviously in full support of the projects regardless of questions raised by opponents.
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County Council to Again Consider Amending Flood Ordinance

Horry County Council will again consider amending its flood ordinance with a view to reducing the height for building in the county’s designated supplemental flood zones from the current three board height to a two board height.
County staff and the county Infrastructure and Regulation Committee recommended the two board height in the original ordinance, but council bent to the will of group of citizens demanding the three board height, apparently in an excess of caution against the next flood.
The amendment would apply only to county designated supplemental flood zones, not to FEMA designated flood zones. The county added supplemental flood zones after the Hurricane Florence flooding events in 2018.
At the center of the issue is a plot of land sub-divided into 46 lots for development off of Hwy 905. The land was prepared for development in accordance with FEMA requirements. There were no additional county requirements at that time.
Then, Horry County Council passed a new flood ordinance establishing flood zones supplemental to the FEMA maps and requiring homes in those areas to be built a further three feet above FEMA required levels.

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County Council Vote Does Not Settle Issue of Development Height for Hwy 905 Sub-division

Horry County Council’s decision to not amend its supplemental flood zone regulations did not settle the issue that caused an amendment to be considered in the first place.
At the center of the issue is a plot of land sub-divided into 46 lots for development off of Hwy 905. The land was prepared for development in accordance with FEMA requirements.
Then, Horry County Council passed a new flood ordinance establishing flood zones supplemental to the FEMA maps and requiring homes in those areas to be built a further three feet above FEMA required levels.
Initially, the developers were assured by county staff members that the 46-lot project would be grandfathered to the requirements before the new flood ordinance was passed. Then, according to sources familiar with the issue, county staff reversed its position and said the new supplemental flood zone requirements would have to be met by this project.
Great Southern Homes, the developer of the land, immediately appealed the latest version from county staff to the Horry County Construction Board of Adjustment and Appeals. The county board found in favor of the developer, granting the appeal.

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County Council to Vote on Accommodations Tax Tourism Promotion Appropriation Tonight

Horry County Council will consider extending its contract with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce for distribution of the 30% accommodations tax collections state law mandates must go for tourism promotion.
The extension will be for one final year. Next year a new contract must be negotiated by the county and it is hoped other direct marketing organizations will step forward to compete with the Chamber for this contract.
When the accommodations tax enabling legislation was passed by the General Assembly over 20 years ago, the provision mandating 30% of the revenue collected must be spent for tourism promotion was included specifically at the request of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and its CEO at the time Ashby Ward.
The Chamber was a struggling organization at the time with membership dues providing most of its operating revenue and a modest little white building on Kings Highway serving as its headquarters.
Accommodations tax money provided the Chamber with its first taste of a steady stream of public tax dollars into its coffers. Over the first decade of this century, ‘greed is good’ apparently became the unofficial motto with grants from the General Assembly added to those coffers and, beginning in 2009, the institution of the tourism development fee.

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