Georgetown County planning commission pushes plans forward on proposed county-wide development

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Georgetown Planning Commission met Thursday evening and voted to recommend a plan to county council that some say would bring more development and density to areas like Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island.

The land use element of the comprehensive plan was last drafted in 2007 but the county is looking to update it. The plan frames the future of development for the next 10 years.

Throughout the meeting, residents were outspoken against proposed plan. When the commission made its motion to approve it, many walked out in disbelief.

“This tool, this plan is a tool of destruction for the Waccamaw Neck,” one resident against it said during public comment.

The commission deferred the vote at its last meeting in April to come up with a revised plan after hearing public input.

The revised plan changed some density outlines and changed the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk from village center back to commercial use.

More than 20 people spoke out against the updated plan saying it still increases density along the Waccamaw Neck. But in the end, the commission voted to recommend it to county council on the condition that it consider new data from experts.

Holly Richardson, the county’s planning director says digging into even more data is not a part of the initial contract of the group who drafted the plan.

“That’s not something that was in our scope for them to do,” Richardson said. “It’s not something we paid for them as part of the contract. So additional work and additional information like that would need to be an addendum and something that would have to get approved by council.”

Commission member Marla Hamby said she believes even the revised plan still does not reflect public input and more research needs to be done.

“I feel like I’m being asked to make a decision and I do not have the sufficient information I need to make a decision,” Hamby said.

The county says this is this 5th revised plan since they began working on it in 2020.

Cindy Person is the executive director for Keep It Green advocacy and says the revised plan addressed a few concerns but not all.

“We have concluded that much of the data that is being represented is either incomplete or not accurate,” Person said.

The plan will now go to county council for three readings, but council could still decide to send it back to the planning commission for further review.

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Adrianna Lawrence is a multimedia journalist at News13. Adrianna is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and joined the News13 team in June 2023 after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2023. Keep up with Adrianna on Instagram, Facebook, and X, formerly Twitter. You can also read more of her work, here.

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