Here’s what’s at stake as Horry County Council ponders 20 years of population growth

The Imagine 2040 Comprehensive Plan to deal with future growth in Horry County is going to have to wait for another meeting before it can be approved.

On Tuesday county council voted to make the final vote on the plan during a special workshop meeting at an undetermined date. Horry County Chairman Johnny Gardner said an announcement will be made soon to let the public know when the meeting will be held.

This workshop meeting could be the final one in a nearly two-year process of drafting the document. Once approved, it will be the standard all rezoning and development is held to in order to encourage future growth in some areas and discourage it in others.

And with the county’s population expected to double in the coming decades, this plan will figure out where all those people are going. A key part is the land-use map, which dispels the basic characteristics of various areas of the county. The portion directly influences the type of development appropriate in urban, suburban, rural and conservation areas.

While the vote was deferred, public comment was allowed to continue.

“We wanted to hear from all sides,” Gardner said.

Activist April O’Leary spoke on behalf of hundreds of families looking for protection from flooding. She said anything the county can do to protect natural flood barriers should be seen as a positive. She is supportive of the plan and wants to see scenic and conservation land preserved in the future.

Others who spoke were concerned how the plan would affect housing prices and the construction industry. Steve Powell with Venture Engineering said needlessly labeling rural land as scenic and conservation could harm the property values and harm the long-term finances of many longtime county residents.

Benjy Hardee spoke as a representative of construction workers who packed the room, many of whom were wearing their safety vests from the work day. He cautioned council against taking any steps that might harm one of the largest employers in Horry County.

“They are the working men and women of Horry County,” Hardee said. “Nothing happens in Horry County and the United States happens without a spade hitting the ground.”

Want to know more about this plan? Read these previous The Sun News stories.

What does Imagine 2040 mean for me: A break down of how the plan will impact various neighborhoods across Horry County.

Environmental concerns: An in-depth article looking at the sentence in the scenic and conservation land section of the plan concerning environmental activist.

Keeping rural rural: Why developers want to preserve the rural character of western Horry.

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