New 1,500-unit development moves forward amid contamination, traffic concerns

The large green space is the site of a proposed 197-acre development in Socastee.
The large green space is the site of a proposed 197-acre development in Socastee.

A new 1,500-unit development was approved by the Horry County Planning Commission last week amid concerns over traffic and potential contamination.

Now it will be up to county council for final approval.

The proposed 197-acre development between Socastee Boulevard, Folly Road and the Intracoastal Waterway has 514 single-family units, 1,085 multifamily units and a commercial district along the waterway.

Residents at the planning commission expressed concerns over traffic, tall apartment buildings and contamination.

Some Folly Road residents were concerned about an increase in traffic on Folly Road due to two entry points on the road into the new development and tall buildings next to Folly Road that could cause an increase in traffic.

Mike Wooten of DDC Engineers, who is designing the development, tried to alleviate resident's concerns. He promised the planning commission that there would be no construction traffic along Folly Road, and that he would abide by whatever recommendations were included in a traffic study by engineering firm Stantec.

Wooten also promised to limit the height of buildings to 35 feet within 125 feet of the Folly Road property boarder.

Another issue was whether or not stormwater would drain into Folly Road.

"There are two areas where drainage runs from this project to them," Wooten said. "It’s going to be our goal in developing a storm drainage plan to stop any drainage going toward Folly Road from the project and route all of the drainage into the project to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway."

But the drainage toward the Intracoastal causes another potential problem. There are rumors of contaminated soil near the marina.

"We’re aware there are some grave concerns about contamination in the marina area," Wooten said, adding that as the area was developed, soil tests would be done to determine if there was any contamination.

"You can’t develop contaminated areas," Wooten said. "What would happen is we would concentrate on the areas that aren’t contaminated."

Buddy Whittington, speaking on behalf of resident John Henry Brown, questioned whether or not a drainage plan would be developed without knowing if there was contaminated soil near the marina.

"One of the biggest concerns is, going forward, we’re trying to develop a drainage plan when you have an unknown of contamination," Whittington said. "I’m curious as to how you address that issue with moving water forward when you don’t have that answered yet?"

Commission Chair Steven Neeves said the soil testing would have to be done after the rezoning and along with the drainage plan.

"They'll have to be addressed at the same time," he said.

Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian