A community meeting will be held on October 20th to inform residents about plans for rezoning to allow housing on the Myrtle Beach, S.C. property, which features a links-style golf course designed by Dan Maples. Because previous meetings have become so heated, as community members have voiced their concerns about increased traffic and the loss of another course in the region, county officials plan to dispense with a town-hall format and try a more “leisurely and laid-back” approach, with stations set up to field specific inquiries about issues such as stormwater, roads or planning.
Residents of Carolina Forest, an unincorporated community in Horry County, S.C., west of Myrle Beach, will be able to learn more about the redevelopment plans for The Wizard Golf Club at a community meeting on October 20th, MyHorryNews of Conway, S.C. reported.
After years of rumblings about the potential redevelopment of the property, which includes a links-style golf course designed by Dan Maples, Horry County officials are preparing for formal plans to be filed soon and have scheduled the meeting at the Carolina Forest Recreation Center to discuss the project with community residents, MyHorryNews reported.
“The purpose of the meeting is to engage the community on the redevelopment of The Wizard golf course,” said David Jordan, the county’s Director of Planning and Zoning.
While plans haven’t yet been submitted to the county, Jordan told MyHorryNews the project would likely include single-family homes as well as some multi-family housing, though he hadn’t been informed of the specific number of units.
The engineering firm crafting those plans also hasn’t made them public, MyHorryNews reported.
As part of the redevelopment process, Jordan said restrictions would be added to protect the neighboring Man O’War golf course from development, MyHorryNews reported. The Wizard and Man O’War are sister courses that were built in the mid-1990s (The Wizard opened in 1996). Both courses are owned by D.G. Golf Management, which also operates The Witch golf course in the area, on a property that was rezoned last year to accommodate residential development.
News of the potential redevelopment isn’t surprising, MyHorryNews reported. County council members were approached by a developer in 2019 about The Wizard, but at that time they said no work would begin until the widening of Carolina Forest Boulevard was completed. That construction was finished in July.
Two years ago, a developer met with neighbors and offered a presentation that showed a home and townhouse development with 701 single-family units, MyHorryNews reported. During that meeting, the discussion grew so heated that the county’s then-planning director threatened to bring in security to keep the crowd calm.
Some residents have long opposed any redevelopment of the course, MyHorryNews reported.They worry about increased traffic and want local roads extended before additional homes arrive.
“We didn’t want it the first time,” said Carole vanSickler, who lives in the Waterford Plantation subdivision near The Wizard. “We don’t want it now. Bottom line.”
Another Waterford Plantation resident, Bob Cutsail, told station WMBF of Myrtle Beach that in addition to concerns about increased traffic, he also worries about how redeveloping golf courses could impact the Myrtle Beach area’s status as a destination for the sport.
“If they keep deleting these golf courses, it’s just making it harder to get tee times, because you’re limiting your [places to play],” Cutsail told WMBF. “And my fear is that they’re going to start jacking up the prices on what golf courses are left here.”
The October 20 meeting will have a different format than some of the county’s recent meetings between developers and neighbors, MyHorryNews reported. “We’re trying to make it more informal,” Jordan said, adding that it would allow residents to ask “specific questions that may apply to you.”
Unlike past public meetings where developers and county staff would present information and then hear questions—and often complaints—from residents, this gathering will be similar to the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s community meetings, MyHorryNews reported.
Apart from a brief overview at the beginning, there won’t be a town-hall format. Instead, residents will be able to stop by different county stations such as stormwater, roads or planning, and ask questions directly to staff or those working on the project. Plans will be available for public viewing at the meeting.
“It’s unique in that the different departments will be down there to informally discuss plans for the project as currently envisioned,” said Felix Pitts of G3 Engineering, the firm working with the developer on the project. “[It’s] more leisurely and laid-back than some of the public meetings that people have been involved in.”