The flooding from Hurricane Florence has Horry County residents questioning the thought process behind continued rezoning development approvals by Horry County Council without consideration of the overall impact they will have on quality of life.
The latest ‘hot button’ issue is a proposed rezoning in the Tilly Swamp area that would allow approximately 1,500 new homes to be built on what are collectively known as the Bear properties, an area that is already strained for resources.
A new 900 unit RV park and an approximately 110 unit new housing development are already in the process of being developed in the area.
Access to the proposed development will be on small two-lane roads, Old Reaves Ferry Road and Old Hwy 90, off of the current Hwy 90. Current police, fire and EMS services appear to be insufficient for the introduction of over 1,600 new homes and 900 RV units in the area.
Stormwater is another issue. Hurricane Florence saw homes in the area suffer flooding for the first time in history while roads in the area have been closed due to flooding from Hurricane Floyd in 1999, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the recent Hurricane Florence.
One lifetime local resident said the Bear properties are sandy and act like a sponge to draw water in during heavy rain events. He said there is no telling what new flooding may occur in the area if it is paved over with impervious surfaces.
The area is designated ‘Scenic and Conservation’ in the current Horry County Comprehensive Plan Envision 2025 and the proposed new comprehensive plan Imagine 2040. Counties are required by state law to update comprehensive plans every 10 years. Those plans are adopted by county council with a three reading ordinance.
Comprehensive plans are meant to be a planning tool for county goods and services needed, not something adopted to satisfy the state and be ignored until the next one is due.
Both the Horry County Planning staff and Horry County Planning Commission have recommended disapproving the proposed rezoning of the Bear properties. However, it is up for second reading and public review at the regular meeting of council tomorrow night.