A developer abandoned plans for a townhome project in Carolina Forest after pushback from neighbors, but the land in question likely won’t remain empty.
Now the developer is seeking a rezoning to accommodate 58 single-family homes, according to county records. The project does not include any townhouses. A representative for the applicant is expected to discuss the new proposal at an Horry County Planning Commission workshop Thursday afternoon.
G3 Engineering’s Felix Pitts, who represents for the applicant, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. However, after a town hall meeting earlier this month where most speakers opposed the townhome proposal, he suggested the plans might change.
“We’re just in the process of reassessing whether to stay the course or press reset and recalibrate,” he said at that time.
The original plan called for building about 100 townhomes along Gardner Lacy Road just past Carolina Forest High School.
The project was originally scheduled to be reviewed at a planning commission workshop in February, but the developer chose to postpone that presentation so engineers and county staff could meet with neighbors.
The March 8 meeting drew well over 100 people, many of whom voiced concerns about the potential for traffic and flooding issues with the project.
The site is adjacent to several major subdivisions, including Clear Pond, Waterford Plantation and Southcreek. For years, area residents have supported constructing another outlet there, specifically an extension of Gardner Lacy to International Drive.
Waterford residents have also grown weary of drivers using their neighborhood as a cut-through route. Neighbors have even raised the possibility of taking over that community's roads and gating the subdivision.
What could be built
Although a rezoning is necessary to accommodate this single-family development, about 60 types of businesses are already allowed on much of the land without any vote of council.
For example, under the current zoning, some of the property could be used for mini-warehouses or a plumbing shop. That property could also be converted into townhomes, though the zoning would severely limit the number of units allowed.
The latest design proposal calls for rezoning about 20 acres.
While the planning commission’s Thursday agenda lists the townhome project as up for discussion, the single-family development proposal will be what's reviewed, said David Schwerd, the county's director of planning and zoning, in an email.
“Since the area of the rezoning didn’t increase, the zoning district didn’t have to change, and the number of units and density were reduced, it does not need to be deferred,” he wrote.
The workshop begins at 3 p.m.
Next week, the planning commission is scheduled to make a recommendation on the single-family housing proposal. The matter would then go to Horry County Council, which has the final say in any zoning changes.
Check back for updates.