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Horry County Council Votes Against Residential Re-zoning

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Thought that this might be of interest, but the Horry County Council rejected a developer's plan to rezone a golf course into residential uses. Now if the developer was Burroughs and Chapin, the resolution would have gone through unanimously.

Additionally, Horry County and International Paper set aside a "master plan" for Carolina Forest during its inception, which is available at http://www.covingtonlakepoa.com/pdf/masterplan.pdf.

Rezoning riles golf-course residents

Planners against building on Wizard

By Travis Tritten

The Sun News

CONWAY - Redevelopment plans for the Wizard golf course in Carolina Forest should be rejected, the Horry County Planning Commission recommended Thursday.

Now County Council will consider the plan to build 651 homes on the golf course property and add thousands of vehicle trips to some of the county's most congested roadways.

An overflowing crowd of opponents turned out for the first public hearing on the plan and cheered the decision. Residents in the area want the county to stick to a decade-old zoning plan that would maintain the golf courses.

It is the most recent in a wave of proposed golf course redevelopments in Horry County and one of three course proposals heard by the Planning Commission during its meeting here.

"If there was ever a time to not allow a golf course rezoning, I think now is the time," said Planning Commissioner Herbert Riley, who was appointed from the county district that includes Carolina Forest.

County planning staff is concerned about traffic access to the proposed development. The only entrance and exit is Gateway Drive, which is already heavily used and empties out near a school.

The developer, Apex Homes of North Carolina, is offering to build a connector road from the new development to U.S. 501 that could be used by all Carolina Forest residents, ensure that another golf course in that area will remain undeveloped and create lakefront views for neighboring homes.

"We can take a good amount of the daily trips on Carolina Forest Boulevard and put them on the access road," project manager Scott Mishoe said.

But it was not enough to sway the commission and county staff. Deputy Planning Director Carol Coleman said the developer had not gotten approval to build the proposed access road across railroad tracks that run parallel to U.S. 501.

"This places serious concerns on the access issue, which was our concern to begin with," Coleman said.

County Council will have one hearing on the rezoning and will consider the Planning Commission recommendation. The council can follow the recommendation, ignore it or ask for changes to the redevelopment plans.

Carolina Forest residents say their opposition is about more than traffic. The Wizard was zoned by the county as part of a golf course community and under those rules, it was supposed to remain green space for surrounding homes, according to Mike Wooten, head of DDC Engineers, who wrote the community zoning plan a decade ago.

Ray Bartholow, president of the Windsor Green homeowners association, said residents bought homes on golf courses believing those rules would remain and the Wizard and the Man O' War golf courses would not be redeveloped.

"I don't want to give up one thing that you people put in place 10 years ago," Bartholow said. "These are in your documents. This is what we've been lead to believe and this is what we want you to uphold."

Carolina Forest property owners who oppose the rezoning threatened to go to court if the redevelopment is allowed.


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