A proposal to turn a Grand Strand golf course into a housing development will get another shot at approval in early December, and this time it’s expected to draw more community support.
The Heather Glen Golf Links in Little River is slated to close next week and a sale is pending to home builder D.R. Horton if the rezoning request gets the green light from Horry County officials.
The first plan of more than 1,000 homes drew strong opposition from surrounding neighbors who complained the proposed mixed residential development would increase traffic congestion and cause stormwater system flooding issues.
The Horry County Council rejected the proposal last month on a seven to five vote.
However, developers have since tweaked their proposal and held a series of community meetings to collect letters of support, said David Schwerd, deputy director of the Horry County Planning and Zoning Department.
“They are back with slightly less density and larger lot sizes and setbacks than they were the last time,” Schwerd said.
About 80 housing units have been dropped from the plan putting it at an even 1,000. Instead of 5,000 square-foot lots, the developers have expanded the footprint to 7,000 square feet. They also went from five-foot side setbacks to seven-foot side setbacks.
Plus, developers are guaranteeing a larger buffer, Schwerd said.
The project goes back to the planning commission for consideration at their Dec. 7 meeting.
“I have had a couple of letters of support from some of the community groups,” Schwerd said.
“I’m sure there will still be some people against it, but we’ve had actual letters of support which we almost never get in a rezoning. That’s a very rare occasion,” Schwerd said.
The golf course is currently zoned as SF10 – residential with minimum lot sizes of 10,000-square-feet. Developers are asking that it be rezoned as MRD2, which allows for mixed residential development in suburban areas.
The 1,000 units would include 766 single-family homes, 234 duplex units, and the development would contain 58 acres of ponds, 42 acres of wetlands and 93 acres of open space.
Heather Glen is a 27-hole facility, with 18 holes designed by Willard Byrd and nine holes designed by Clyde Johnston. Golf Digest named it the best new course in America in 1987.
The course is owned by the Vivian E. Vereen family trust. But with more than a decade remaining on The Glens Group’s lease, the management company plans to be involved in the next phase for the property.
The Glens Group also manages Glen Dornoch Golf Links, Possum Trot Golf Club and and Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club. It operates Glen Dornoch and Possum Trot through lease agreements, and Glens Group partners own Shaftesbury Glen.
Several area golf courses have closed in the past 16 months citing financial struggles, including Island Green Golf Club, Black Bear Golf Club, Brierwood Golf Club and Wedgefield Country Club, which may reopen in 2018 under now ownership.
Heather Glen will be the most high-profile course among the recent closures.