HORRY COUNTY (WBTW) — Residents of rural Horry County are worried growth will expand westward.
To address the concern, some community members organized a public meeting with members of county leadership on Tuesday night at Cane Branch Baptist Church.
One of the organizers was farmer Matthew Brown. He said the goal was to ask questions of county officials while educating area residents.
“I believe the rural sector is losing its voice in Horry County,” Brown said. “I just want everyone to have a voice.”
Chris Stevens is another organizer. He’s hopeful the meetings brings compromise.
“It’s not meant to be a debate,” Stevens said. “It’s not meant to be a heated exchange of words between either party. Hopefully, this is a respectful, educational meeting where we can come together and share some ideas with one another and hopefully come to some compromise.”
Horry County Councilman Danny Hardee, who represents the 10th District, said he looked forward to the meeting with concerned county residents.
“The county is just going to be there to try to answer questions and their concerns,” Hardee said. “And that gives us a broader perspective of what the people want.”
What these residents don’t want is unchecked growth.
“We’re as rural as it gets,” Brown said. “And a lot of people would like to keep it that way.”
People in the western parts of the county have kept a close eye on developments further east. Of big concern for Stevens is the county’s limiting of future re-zonings along parts of Highway 90.
“As they limit the re-zonings there, it’s just going to push the developers out this way,” Stevens said.
Brown and Stevens both said growth in that part of Horry County needs to be calculated to avoid the issues experienced elsewhere.
“There’s a lack of infrastructure in place, some overcrowding, and some real traffic concerns,” Stevens said. “We want to avoid those same situations here.”
The county’s Imagine 2040 Plan calls for the preservation of rural communities and lifestyles while accounting for future growth. Brown and Stevens said county leadership has not followed the comprehensive plan, forgetting its commitment to rural areas.
“You don’t want to tell someone what they can or can’t do with their property, but at the same time you don’t want this development to reshape communities without some public input,” Stevens said.