More than 200 Horry County residents petition multi family units under CFA zoning

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CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – Over two hundred Horry County residents are petitioning to stop multi-family units from being built under Commercial Forest Agriculture (CFA) Zoning.

Some Horry County residents say this zoning ordinance is allowing projects to be developed beyond original scale and intent.

One Conway resident has taken measures into her own hands by creating a petition that has generated over 200 signatures.

“With thousands of families affected in Hurricane Florence, I think we need to ensure that all of our county officials, as well as staff, are doing everything we can to reduce flood risks,” April O’Leary said.

April O’Leary is a resident of Horry County and Conway and a victim of Hurricane Florence. She told News13 it is the reason she feels so strongly on the zoning ordinance and does not want to see families in the future at high risk.

She leads a group on Facebook called ‘Horry County Rising’ where residents share any concerns they may have within the city.

Her petition has generated over 200 signatures from residents worried that future land development under CFA Zoning will eventually put families at high flood risk.

“Developers are using this conditional use to double the scale and size of a project that is not appropriate for a parcel that either floods or contains flood ways that carry flood waters,”  O’Leary said.

She believes projects to been allowed development well beyond their original scale and intent

“This is really a rural community so to put a project that scale in scope is not characteristic of the community and also puts future families at risk,” O’Leary said.

Multi family homes are high density in the eyes of developers.

Real Estate Expert John Draughn says he does not think the county would build on parcels knowing to be flood prone and additional criteria has to be met regardless of zoning classification.

“The governmental and planning professionals are all very cognoscente. A new flood map was recently released. Everyone is cognoscente of what has happened with hurricane Florence and everything else that has come through here in the last three to five years,” Draughn said.

Removing multifamily from the CFA zoning district, O’Leary says, will hold developers to one unit per half acre which will have a less impact on future land uses.

“We know the good lands have already been developed. We are now onto developing marginal lands. Lands like the Highway 90 where we have 80 acres and 40 acres flood. That’s a great example of that.” O’Leary said.

O’Leary said town homes, apartments, and condos are all a great idea as “we need to go up instead of out,” as long as they are in appropriate areas and benefit Horry County economically.

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