Land purchase could help fund other projects in Horry County

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A purchase of land in Horry County could be the outlet to help fund other projects in the area.

The land is 3,700 acres and council member Johnny Vaught said Horry County’s intention with buying the land is to set up a mitigation bank. A mitigation bank is somewhere credits can be established after the county buys the land and begins restoring wetlands and preserves the area.

Those credits can be applied to another project in that same area the land was purchased. According to Vaught, typically mitigation credits can range anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 each, but Vaught said with this purchase of land, the county could only be paying around $3,400 per credit.

This piece of land is also in the same area as the county’s RIDE III projects, so the credits generated from this land could be eligible to go toward some of those projects.

“Several of the projects in Ride III will require mitigation credits, and it’s going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1600 to 1800 credits that we will need just to complete RIDE III,” said Vaught, “Now, if we didn’t have this property and didn’t have this mitigation bank set up, we would have to go out on the market and buy mitigation credits from somewhere.”

Nothing is set in stone yet, but Vaught said there is a chance for an extension for Gardner Lacy Road, something some residents in Carolina Forest have long awaited. First, council members must set up a mitigation plan in order to set up a mitigation bank to generate credits, which has to be approved. Vaught said when they set up that plan, county officials will include the idea of extending Gardner Lacy Road.

Concerned resident and President of the Carolina Forest Civic Association Carole vanSickler said, “I think it’s a good logical step for Horry County to undertake in so far as it will stop any development along Gardner Lacy to International Drive. No more residential units,” said vanSickler, “I am concerned about whether or not they will go ahead and put the Gardner Lacy extension through. That is a desperately-needed road; it’s been asked for for the last two ride programs and got pushed off.”

This extension is just one possibility that could come after this land purchase. Vaught said the land purchase is in the process but has not officially closed yet.

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