Conway leaders clear way for large development off US 701 South

By Hannah Strong Oskin,

Conway leaders have taken a final vote that will allow a proposed development off U.S. 701 South to bring more than 3,300 new residences to the city over the next two decades.

City council on Tuesday voted unanimously on the development known as the Warden Station Tract, which will add nearly 1,800 acres of property for residential use into the city near U.S. 701 South and Pitch Landing Road. Developers have proposed 3,318 units that include houses, townhouses and multifamily dwellings.

Part of the agreement with the developers includes 500 acres that would be given to the city for four pickleball courts, a playground, parking for recreational activities and the installation of the Wildlife Refuge Trail connection.

City leaders have for months been in discussions with representatives of the developer over stormwater, traffic concerns and the big question: potential enhancement fees — a one-time fee property owners would pay when they purchase a home in the neighborhood that would be part of the development agreement.

Last month, city leaders took a first vote on the proposal and also voted on the development agreement, which could have put a $5,700 fee per door.

But between first and second readings, the developer and city staff went back to the drawing board and tweaked the amount to propose $5,750 per unit for single-family detached, $4,025 for semi-family attached and duplex or townhomes, and $2,875 per multifamily units.

Council agreed Tuesday, passing the development agreement unanimously, too.

But before that, Councilman William Goldfinch questioned the change in pricing.

“Why can’t we make the number neutral,” he asked.

Shep Guyton, an attorney representing the developer, said townhomes do not create the same burden as a single-family home does, which justifies scaling the figure back for those multi-family homes.

“We think this project will move relatively fast and quicker than the 20-year timeline,” he added.

Typically development agreements are created ahead of time and the funds are meant to help alleviate any potential burdens on a municipality.

For Conway, these fees would help with sanitation, public safety, parks and recreation and planning and development.

The annexation and rezoning involves multiple parcels of land, with the largest being a roughly 1,637 acre parcel, Horry County land records state. The parcel was sold by International Paper Corp to Landbank XIV LLC in 2006 for $24.6 million.

Plans show 1,380 single-family homes, 1,018 townhomes, and 920 multifamily units.

The project has gone through a thorough review by the planning commission and council, with city staff working on the proposal for over a year.

Developers have said one-fifth of the project would be completed within the first five years, and the subsequent phases would be completed over the next 20 years.

Read more here.