Community groups take issue with Georgetown County land use plan

Updated: Oct. 15, 2020 at 11:18 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Georgetown County is working on an update to its comprehensive plan. The plan is a guiding document to future growth and development.

Several local organizations and members of the community turned up at Georgetown Planning Committee meeting on Thursday to voice concern about how the future land use portion of the comprehensive plan was developed.

Gary Weinreich lives in the area. He is also the director of a group called Save Murrells Inlet, Inc.

“We are very concerned because there has been no opportunity for public input,” Weinreich said. “State law requires a planning process. Right now, Georgetown County has never adopted and approved one. That spells out how you would involve public input.”

The county has set aside three public hearing dates for input.

Those dates are Oct. 19, Oct. 20, and Oct. 22, and will all take place at the Howard Center, 1610 Hawkins St., Georgetown, from 4-6:30 p.m. The first meeting will focus on the Pawleys Island and Litchfield areas, the second on the Murrells Inlet area and the third on areas surrounding the City of Georgetown and rural areas.

Another long-time local, Cindy Person, says normally the land use plan is developed by a local committee. She says the current proposal was put together by an outside company.

“Because it was drafted by an outside agency and not by the people, it seems to have an agenda of high density and urbanization, which is not something the people here want,” Person said.

Weinreich feels transparency is a big issue and so are the goals in the proposed plans.

“They appeared one day. They are difficult to read. We have no idea what their goals are, but it appears their goals support higher density development than we even have today,” Weinreich said.

Weinreich says the Waccamaw Neck area, which includes Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet and Litchfield cannot handle significant development.

“It’s a narrow peninsula, bounded by water on three sides and we are concerned about over population,” Weinreich said. “The residents have said over and over again that they don’t want urbanization coming to the Waccamaw Neck.”

Person, who is also a member of the community organization Keep It Green, is concerned development in areas like theses could present serious issues with infrastructure, especially when it comes to flooding.

“The traffic problems are horrendous. We have a finite amount of land and one highway,” Person said. “We are also seeing a lot of flooding and storm water problems and we just keep building and building and there is nowhere for the water to go and there is nowhere for the traffic to go.”

You can find links to all of the proposed future land use portions of the comprehensive plan here and here. The plans are still in their initial phase.

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