Carolina Forest subdivision with flooding issues could see new homes on former wetlands | Myrtle Beach Business
CONWAY — A proposal to add homes to an existing Carolina Forest neighborhood with a history of flooding was deferred last week by Horry County Council until the developer can have a community meeting with area residents.
Developer Venture Engineering wants to add 23 lots for single-family homes on 27 acres along West Perry Road in the Perry Place subdivision and bordering the Ashford subdivision.
The subdivision that has a total of 263 homes sits directly across U.S. 501 from Carolina Forest Boulevard — one of the busiest intersections in the county.
Carolina Forest is among the fastest-growing areas in the state’s fastest-growing county, with a population of 23,342, according to 2020 census data. Carolina Forest would be one of South Carolina’s top 25 largest cities if it incorporated.
The biggest concern of the residents who live on the two-mile road is not growth, but flooding issues that occur after storms.
“We had a heavy rain storm in 2014 and the water got up so high,” said Sebastian Davis at a county Planning Commission meeting April 7 where the project moved to County Council on a 6-4 vote. “I had an 88-year-old mother I couldn’t even get out of there. Why don’t we do an environmental study before this goes forward, because I don’t want to live in a place where it ends up being like Rosewood.”
Last year, Horry County received $13 million to remove 61 vulnerable homes in flood-prone areas, mostly in the Rosewood subdivision in Socastee.
Although the Planning Commission voted to move the project forward, county staff did not give its recommendation because the proposed 23 homes would be built on what used to be wetlands and open space.
The Planning Department noted that the original deed stated that any open space should remain in place, which could leave the county exposed for lawsuits.
A second vote on the project was deferred by Councilman Johnny Vaught at the May 17 meeting. However, no timeline has been set for a meeting between Vaught, Venture Engineering, county staff and the residents.
“They’re going to call a meeting and we’re going to discuss what has to happen to fix the problems that already exist before any new development takes place,” Vaught said.
A recent assessment showed wetlands along West Perry Road shrank from nearly 30 acres to just over nine acres since the development was built. But residents said during previous planning and council meetings their backyards remain soggy days after rain storms.
Venture Engineering has said they will remedy the flooding issues on West Perry Road by fixing existing stormwater pipes that are undersized and have a history of clogging.
Additionally, the developer plans to bring the currently private street up to county road standards so it can be made public in the future.
No date for a community meeting has been announced.