HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Concerned citizens gathered at Tilly Swamp Baptist Church on Thursday with one thing in mind: development along Highway 90.
Topics ranged from flooding to public safety and traffic, and everywhere in between.
Elected officials were present to respond to everyone’s concerns within the framework of a town hall. While addressing the issues, county leaders looked at some projects that could impact Highway 90 in the not-so-distant future.
Addressing the number of residential projects approved for Highway 90, Horry County Planning Director David Jordan told the crowd, “There are 864 multi-family units approved and not built – 4,228 single-family units.
More than 5,000 new homes are in the works for Highway 90, a two-lane highway that residents fear could not support this kind of growth. Many are worried about flooding caused by the entire construction.
“Every tree you pull out of the ground, you’ve just taken in the potential for some water uptake,” a concerned resident told the panel.
For others, it’s public safety available to keep up with the region’s growing population.
“The response time from the police department was about 40 minutes,” added another concerned Highway 90 resident.
Much of the talk has focused on widening Highway 90 to keep up with all new home traffic and to mitigate flooding. However, this project has been estimated at around half a billion dollars.
Councilor Johnny Vaught’s approach is to tackle it step by step.
“Let’s fix the most critical issues, raise the road at Steritt Swamp, get down and do the same sort of thing at Tilly Swamp. Fix this place first at Steritt Swamp and Jones Big Swamp.
City Councilor Bill Howard said any money left over from the Ride III project across the county will go to Highway 90.
When it comes to public safety, many residents have requested a new 24/7 fire station, and it looks like they are going to get it.
“We are looking for a location to set up a mega fire station that will be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, fully equipped with about five buggies to take care of this area,” said Councilor Danny Hardee.
Vaught says the station will be at the intersection of Highway 90 and Highway 22.
Horry County Fire Chief Joseph Tanner said it should be finished in about a year and a half to two years.
With that in a few years and the funding for the Highway 90 widening nowhere to be found, many residents have called for a moratorium on rezoning for new, high-density developments.
“We need to straighten out the infrastructure first,” said one concerned resident.
Highway 90 is part of the Hardee area, and he says a moratorium is a very real possibility until something happens with the widening of Highway 90.
“We have to get it started, and yes, there is talk of putting a moratorium on rezoning until it’s completed,” said Hardee.
The organizer said she plans to hold another rally after Labor Day to check on the advice.
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