Proposed rezoning ordinance could divide property near historical Freewoods Farm

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A rezoning ordinance proposed by local real estate developers began raising concerns for some people in Horry County and the Burgess community starting on Sunday. 

People in the Burgess community believe a piece of historical land in Horry County could be at stake. Freewoods Farms is the only African American historical living farm museum in the United States. 

The 40 acres of land is devoted to recognizing the contributions of African American farmers. Burgess community members said the proposal by Burroughs Brothers Properties would expand a new housing development in the area and build a public road creating traffic on a two-lane road already congested. 

On Monday, The Greater Burgess Association said the proposal would divide the property next to Freewoods Farm owned by the Smalls family.

Several community members and groups are fighting to keep history alive if the proposal would impact Freewoods Farms. 

“It doesn’t make any sense to me to destroy something so historical,” Charlene McSweeney, an Island Green resident said. 

“They’ve tried to preserve this area, in particular, to demonstrate to the world what it was like to have a farm and operate a farm,” Mary Patten, a community member said. 

Freewoods Farm owner, O’Neal Smalls, granted an easement years ago to a neighbor before the area had access to a roadway. Now, as part of a new housing development proposal, a public road is being proposed on this piece of land, according to The Greater Burgess Community Association. 

“That would divide the property owned by the O’Neal smalls family, and we don’t think that’s fair,” Al Jordan, President of Greater Burgess Community Association said. 

Some people in the community say the proposal would be better off connecting to a four-lane road instead of the Freewoods two-lane road. McSweeney said eight other communities come out of their neighborhoods onto this road. For many, it’s their only way out. 

“I don’t think it’s a betterment to society, rather a detriment,” McSweeney said. 

“It is a beautiful historical property that needs to remain untouched,” Patten said. 

News13 reached out to Burroughts Brothers Property for a comment and have not heard back.

The rezoning ordinance 07-2020 will no longer be discussed on August 18. If the zoning receives a second reading on Sept. 1, then the public hearing will be scheduled for third reading on Sept. 15. 

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