A new housing development? Horry County Planning Commission says yes despite concerns

Site plans for proposed development
Site plans for proposed development Horry County Planning and Zoning

An amendment to an already existing planned unit development, or PUD, was approved at an Horry County Planning Commission meeting Thursday evening, after residents from surrounding neighborhoods gathered to express concerns regarding a pending housing development at the intersection of McCormick Road and Burcale Road.

The development would bring 162 townhouse-style homes and multi-family homes to the community, meaning that the units would be two-stories high. Each unit will have two bedrooms.

According to site plans, the development will have exists onto both McCormick Road and Burcale Road. With multiple communities already emptying out onto both roads, as well as a day care and multiple businesses, residents are concerned with the amount of traffic that the development will bring.

“As we all know the roads are overloaded now,” Tom Arson, president of the Village of Arrowhead HOA, said during the meeting. “The other part we’re concerned with is traffic through the Village of Arrowhead. The county [has] plans for [more] new redevelopment...so with that and this [development], obviously traffic is a serious, serious issue.”

Currently, the land is zoned as a highway commercial zone, meaning the development will be an “automobile-oriented commercial development,” according to the Horry County Planning & Zoning website, rather than being zoned residential.

By zoning as a highway commercial, developers are able to account for more vehicles coming and going on the roads.

“The bottom line is that if this 11.35-acre site were fully developed with commercial uses instead of the proposed 162 townhome (residential) units, the potential is there for upwards of three to five times the amount of new traffic (as commercial land use) during the evening peak hour - not including any pass-by traffic or shared trips between commercial uses,” Andrew Markunas, Deputy County Engineer with Horry County, explained in an email.

“We’re taking potential traffic and cutting it to about 40 percent of what it could be,” engineer Jeffrey Solan said during the meeting.

Site plans show that left-turn lanes will be built into McCormick Drive as well as a required deceleration around the entrance to the development by Horry County requirements.

Solan is working with calculations that show the number of vehicle’s that drive through the area in order to determine whether or not the roads will be overcrowded with the new development.

The study accounts for six trips per unit per day, which would result in 972 daily trips to and from the site, Markunas said.

“During the evening peak hour - when current traffic on the adjacent roads are at their busiest, the proposed residential use would generate 84 total trips to and from the site (56 in and 28 out during the peak hour) - this works out to the addition of approximately seven cars on the adjacent roads every five minutes during the busiest hour of the day,” Markunas said in an email.

“The traffic isn’t really an issue,” David Schwerd, Deputy Director of Horry County Planning & Zoning said during the meeting. “There’s traffic everywhere in the county. I can’t predict the future. We just have to go off the calculations.”

Arson is also concerned that the increased traffic will make it more difficult for emergency units to get through the communities.

“I feel there is going to be an increase in crime in the area for us,” resident Ricky Davis said. “Police is limited in the Forestbrook area.”

While nobody spoke for the project during the meeting, members of the board approved the plans. Engineers and developers will have to appear in front of Horry County Council as a next step in the project. At the second reading of the plans residents will once again have the opportunity to speak for or against to project.

“I think our proposed project is less objectionable than the alternatives,” Schwerd said.

Megan Tomasic: 843-626-0343, @MeganTomasic