HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Hundreds of homes could be coming to the Conway and Longs areas along Highway 90, and several residents are concerned that it will bring more traffic and flooding.
David Lukeson lives along Highway 90. He moved to the area one year ago.
“When you come out here and try to turn left or right on [Highway] 90 and you sit there for five minutes while you’re waiting for traffic to give you an opportunity, it’s dangerous,” he said.
Lukeson said he didn’t expect the area around him to grow so rapidly.
“This issue is the growth is exceeding the county’s ability to manage critical items like infrastructure,” he said.
Along Highway 90, plenty of yellow rezoning request signs can be seen. One of them is a plan up for discussion at this week’s planning commission meeting, which would bring 527 single-family homes to a 222-acre lot. Some would be in a flood zone.
“That is 200 acres today that is trees and grass and earth that absorbs rainwater,” Lukeson said. “Within a certain period of time, that 200 acres is going to be covered in concrete and blacktop. And that water that is being absorbed has got to go somewhere.”
April O’Leary is the president and founder of Horry County Rising, a group that advocates for better flood protection.
“We know Highway 90 was among the many highways that were flooded in 2018,” O’Leary said. [Highways] 701, 501, 22, 9, 90 — all of these highways flooded so the reality is that the infrastructure was not designed or engineered to handle the type of flood events that we’re experiencing.”
O’Leary said it’s important that residents in affected communities share their voice for where they live, which is what Lukeson is doing.
“Someone needs to stop and say ‘can we do this?'” he said. “How good are we at providing services to the people that are paying taxes here? Who came here because this is a comfortable place that we want to live and it’s becoming stressful.”
Horry County recently passed new flood laws which will require homes being built in flood zones to be elevated three feet above the flood line.
“With the new flood laws, I’m not sure what the developer is going to do,” O’Leary said. “They may decide to pull those lots out of the flood zone. They may decide to go ahead and proceed and that case, might raise the homes to the elevation that’s required.”
O’Leary said anytime families move to an area that has potential to be cut off due to flooding is a public safety concern.
Lukeson said he’ll be at Thursday’s planning commission meeting. Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting and share their thoughts.
“I’m fortunate to live in a community where there’s a lot of people willing to step up and talk to our public safety, representatives, and demand better service,” Lukeson said.
Lukeson also said he welcomes the new people moving to the area, but said by the end of the year, there will be almost 5,000 new people within five miles of his house.
The planning commission will meet at 5:30p.m. Thursday at the county government building at 1301 Second Ave. on the second floor.