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Residents file to keep gates until suit settled

The homeowners association of a retirement community off of U.S. 501 on Friday filed an injunction to stop Horry County from forcing down gates that have blocked cut-through traffic for nearly a decade.

The Myrtle Trace Homeowners Association will ask a judge to keep the gates up until a lawsuit it filed against the county is resolved.

Myrtle Trace residents say that rather than open up their roads to unwanted traffic, they would rather make the roads private again and pay for road maintenance themselves. They sued the county on Tuesday for that right.

The slim gates have been up since 1999 and block all traffic from going through the intersection of Myrtle Trace Drive and Myrtle Ridge Road.

The County Council voted Tuesday to force the homeowners associations to take down those gates, as well as gates at two other nearby intersections, pleasing those who felt the gates forced traffic onto other roads and disappointing residents whose roads are protected by the gates.

The county sent letters to the homeowners associations on Wednesday, giving them two weeks to take them down.

Richard Hartman, who lives in Forest Lake Estates, said he was not looking forward to the gates coming down.

"There's no sidewalks, and we have a lot of older people who live and walk here," he said. "Once you open those roads, it's going to be a disaster. It's going to be a safety problem more than anything else."