‘We’re fighting for everyone’: Retirees take to streets over Indian Wells’ future

Freezing temperatures didn’t stop dozens of 55-years-and-up retirees from protesting along the Garden City Connector on Monday. Despite complaints about the cold, they wanted to save their golf course.

The protestors came from the communities surrounding Indian Wells Golf Club, just south of Myrtle Beach’s city limits. They’re hoping to stop plans to redevelop the golf course into a mixed-use residential housing development.

“They’re all over 55 years old, so it shows they’re passionate,” Kathy Jellison, a resident of nearby Woodlake Village, said about the people standing in the cold holding signs.

The message of the protest criticized the redevelopment of the golf course and development in Horry County at large. The residents lined both sides of the street holding hand-made signs and wearing red shirts with stop signs on them.

“They’re developing every inch of grass down here,” Jellison said. “We’re fighting for everyone.”

For Jellison, who helped organize the protest, the hope is to raise awareness to the rapid growth in Horry County and stop the golf course from being turned into a housing complex.

Earlier this month, a proposed redevelopment plan got an unfavorable recommendation from the Horry County Planning Commission.

The request now goes to Horry County Council, which can approve the request despite the negative recommendation through three approved readings. But Jellison said her neighbors will show up again for the first reading at Tuesday’s meeting to once again show their opposition.

If approved, the rezoning will allow for a mix of single-family homes, townhomes and some commercial services.

In total, the rezoning request plans for 255 single-family lots and 257 town homes to be built.

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South Carolina State Senator Stephen Goldfinch spoke to the commission on Jan. 3 saying the proposed plan was putting “lipstick on a pig” and urged the developer, Founders Group International, to reconsider. The senator was concerned about traffic along the connector and the quality of life for the older residents who enjoy the golf course.

The residents of the area packed the planning commission room to show their opposition.

Even without council approval, the golf course can be redeveloped under its current zoning code of SF6, which would allow the developer to build up to 693 single-family detached and duplex houses. No commercial properties would be allowed under this plan.

“We’re just going to keep fighting until we can’t fight it anymore,” Jellison said.