Conway city council approves land annexation with intentions of building thousands of homes

By Jenna Herazo, Andrew James,

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) — Conway city leaders unanimously approved possibly the largest land annexation the town has yet to see on Tuesday night.

The comprehensive plan is to build more than 3,000 residential units on nearly 2,000 acres of the acquired land within the next 25 years. 

It’s called Warden Station, and it would sit between Highway 701, Pitch Landing Road and Kinlaw Lane.

According to the master plan, the development would consist of single-family detached and attached units, townhomes, and multifamily units.

G3 Engineering Chief Development Officer Felix Pitts personally thanked the council for the outcome of the vote, however, one Conway resident is still hesitant.

“I think that it’s something that we were expecting them to do, but I can’t say it softened the blow,” Jeanette Spurloch said. 

Spurloch said several residents heavily disapprove of the development, adding that many even shared their concerns with the council.

She said flooding and a lack of updated infrastructure are just a few of her apprehensions. 

“We have FEMA that will come in and try to help, but there’s residents all over Horry County that will tell you that they lost their homes and didn’t get compensated enough to be able to pay things off and move forward and start over again,” Spurloch said. 

Even with the public outcry, she said she feels their concerns aren’t being heard by those who ultimately make the final decision. 

“They [the residents] feel defeated. When you feel defeated, it’s really hard to stay in the fight and keep going. Especially when you feel like you’re losing every time you turn around,” she said.

The first reading of the ordinance was passed in December of 2023.

At that meeting, many Conway citizens expressed their objection, but at Tuesday’s meeting, there wasn’t one resident who spoke out during the public input portion.

Spurloch mentioned the time of day the city council holds its meetings is another setback civilians face. 

“I think that they should start their meetings at six o’clock in the evening like the counties and school boards do. This was really important to the City of Conway and the residents here. If they want to build this city and do the things they want to do here, they need to give ample opportunity to the citizens to get in and have a say,” she said. 

Enhancement fees were another topic of discussion Tuesday night. 

Council and the applicants agreed to collect $5,750 of enhancement fees per unit for during December’s meeting, but that has since changed depending on the dwelling type. Councilman Goldfinch questioned why the fees could not be ‘neutral’ and the developer’s attorney said reducing the fees based on dwelling made more sense based on the land use and ability for sale of the townhomes and apartments.

Council in the end approved the development agreement unanimously. In it, the developer agrees to pay the $5,750 fee per single-family unit which more than 1300 are planned. As for the more than 1000 townhomes, the developer would be required to pay $4,025 at the issuance of a building permit. Lastly, for the 920 estimated apartments, the developer agrees to pay a $2,875 fee.

The agreement also calls for a quarter million from the developer in the form of a Transportation Enhancement Fee.

The city will also be gifted 500 acres of open space that will include public parking, pickleball courts as well as a floodproof playground.

Shep Guyton with the applicant said with this agreement, they think they can build out the project faster, possibly in less than 20 years.

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