More than 400 new Island Green homes appear to move forward despite road dispute

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – People who live in an Horry County community with more than 1,400 homes are upset because the area is close to getting hundreds more.

Island Green near Socastee was first developed more than three decades ago. It has 1,425 homes across 16 neighborhoods with 24 homeowners associations. There’s only one way, however, to access Island Green from a main road, which is Freewoods Road.

It now appears more than 400 homes will be added to the community.

“The best chance Island Green has to get a road that’s going to last most of those residents’ lifetimes and our buyers’ lifetimes is to approve this project,” said Steve Powell, who’s the president of Venture Engineering.

That only outside access, taking Sunnehanna Drive to Freewoods Road, is the center of the debate. Horry County regulations require any community with more than 100 homes to have at least two roads to enter and leave.

This is from the land development regulations chapter of the county’s code of ordinances:

“Major developments containing more than 100 lots/units shall supply a minimum of two paved points of access to every lot/unit within the development.”

A 4-4 tie vote by the county planning commission Thursday waives that requirement for Island Green, effectively allowing 331 single-family houses and 115 townhomes to be built. Several improvements to existing roads will have to be made, as part of the commission’s waving of the two-road regulation.

Some planning commission members say that’s not enough.

“The developer’s putting up the money, he’s going to come back and try to recoup the money from the HOAs,” said vice chair Marvin Heyd, who voted against waving the regulation. “It’s going to be, I think, a conflict there.”

Many people who live in Island Green worry the additional homes will make flooding worse and that the road access problem hurts public safety.

“If there’s a fire right now in the back there, nobody’s getting out, or if the fire’s in the front, we’re not going to get out,” said Jim Toth, who lives in Island Green East. “We only have one road. I don’t see how they can do that and I don’t understand how they can go against their own rules.”

There is a possibility planning commission members who voted to waive the policy could reconsider it at the commission’s July 2 meeting. The Island Green issue itself won’t be scheduled for a re-vote, but the commission must approve the minutes from Thursday’s meeting. That means the four members who supported waving the road policy could ask to revote on the issue during the approval of the minutes.

Horry County has used this multiple access road policy since 2004, well after much of Island Green was built.

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