Horry County leaders begin using Imagine 2040 to decide where to allow new homes

Imagine 2040

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – A new year means a new way for Horry County leaders to decide where homes should be built.

The developers of Fox Rae Farms are looking to build 257 homes on about 167 acres in three phases near the intersection of Old Reaves Ferry Road and South Carolina Highway 90.

Like other proposals along highway 90, residents say the area is not ready for more developments.

“There are significant capital improvement projects that need to be done in this area to ensure that we’re not putting future families at risk,” said April O’Leary, from the group Horry County Rising.

The county’s planning commission meeting Thursday focused on 97 homes in phase three. The county says a majority of those homes would go on existing wetlands and about 10 would be within a flood zone.

The developers say that’s not an issue.

“It really has quite a bit of topographic relief, coming off that ridge, down to the wetlands and further still down to where the flood plain is,” said Steve Powell, president of Venture Engineering. “We don’t have a risk of flooding, even in a Hurricane Florence flood.”

Amelia Wood, who lives near the proposed development, disagrees.

“If those were flooded, he was concerned about people being isolated over there,” she said. “During Hurricane Florence, they would have been isolated and possibly flooded.”

Imagine 2040, which was officially adopted last month, lists these 87 acres as scenic and conservation land. That designation places more regulations on development.

Planning commission decided not to take action Thursday to allow the owner to make changes to the proposal.

“I don’t know that we’re necessarily against development there, but it may be before its time, until we can address issues like highway 90 and that area or until we get a final wetlands determination on the project,” said county planning director David Schwerd.

Another issue with this plan deals with who would improve a side street called Thomas Road, which the county says would need to be widened if the development were approved.

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