Tuesday Night’s Approval of Carolina Forest Hospital Will Limit DNR Says Conservation Group

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Carolina Forest Hospital

The Coastal Conservation League’s North Coast Office Director, Becky Ryon, has joined the voices of concerned residents in Carolina Forest who are opposed to a $160 million dollar hospital planned for the neighborhood.

Horry County Council votes on the matter this Tuesday night.

As WBTW News reported on May 12th: Residents in the Carolina Forest area urged strongly against the building of a new Conway Medical Center Hospital along International Drive at a public meeting.

“You don’t live there. You won’t have a hospital in your backyard,” said Richard McAndrew, a resident in The Farm neighborhood.

Residents expressed concerns about noise, traffic, controlled burns, and flooding at a community meeting held by Horry County Planning and Zoning.

The proposed $160 million hospital would go along International Drive near the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.

DNR already works to manage this area as well as the Horry County mitigation bank by controlled prescribed burns. Has anyone contemplated how that works in with a hospital?” said one community member.

Says Becky Ryon about the DNR and the proposed hospital

On Tuesday, Horry County Council will take the first vote on a rezoning request, Future Land Use amendment, and development agreement that would allow Conway Medical Center to build a new hospital directly across from the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve. Building a medical facility there would severely limit the Department of Natural Resource’s ability to use prescribed burns that prevent wildfires and sustain the land. Tell Council members to reject the development!

You can do that in person during the public input section of the County Council meeting. Please call Pat Hartley at (843) 915-5120 by 3 p.m. on Tuesday to sign up to speak at the Horry County Council Tuesday, June 1 at 6 p.m. 1301 Second Avenue, Conway

You can also submit written comments by emailing them to [email protected].

The burns at Lewis Ocean Bay are critical for the preservation of this natural treasure. Lewis Ocean Bay is perhaps the most unique ecosystem in South Carolina. It is one of the few remaining homes in our state to many threatened and endangered species like black bears, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and Venus flytraps, which need fires every three to five years to get the right combination of sandy soil and ash to thrive. Because of the recent onslaught of development near International Drive, the DNR is already limited in how and when it can burn. Adding the medical facility to the area would limit the DNR even more. If this development moves forward, we may lose this cherished habitat forever.

The property is also extremely low-lying, with 55 acres of wetlands and only 28 upland acres. We anticipate this development would require filling wetlands, disrupting the natural flow of stormwater, and increasing the likelihood of flooding in the area. We should be leery of any proposals to develop this sensitive property.

Thank you for speaking up to support the DNR. It’s ability to protect this critical habitat for future generations is at risk.

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