Horry County looks to update zoning laws in multi-residential developments

Imagine 2040

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County leaders are looking to update rules for how certain types of housing developments are designed.

One main goal of the county’s new Imagine 2040 comprehensive plan is to prevent new and existing homes from flooding. Some planners say the county’s zoning laws need to be updated to match Imagine 2040.

At a workshop on Thursday, the county planning commission discussed possible changes for land zoned as what’s called “multi-residential” (MRD 1, MRD 2 and MRD 3). That’s mainly for developments with a mix of single- and multi-family homes.

The changes include more protections for wetlands and incentives for developers to add more sustainable features to neighborhoods.

“They all require improvements that don’t really match those,” said county planning director David Schwerd. “This tries to provide other options for developers in those type of areas, the buffers, the fire protection areas, the wetland buffers.”

Sustainable features like open space, fire prevention methods and paths for walking or biking would be in a point system tailored to what each development needs.

“The intent is that the applicant would be able to look at their site, look at their product, and go through the list to figure out what’s going to work best for them,” said Tom Dobrydney, a senior planner for the county.

Planners say another goal is to have more land to naturally absorb stormwater and reduce unnecessary projects.

“While they may reduce the buildable area, they also do not take a significant amount of infrastructure costs associated with them as putting in a sidewalk in an area that doesn’t need sidewalks,” Schwerd said.

Planning commission will hold a public hearing about those proposals on Feb. 6, but a decision on the changes is not expected at that meeting.

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