Wal-Mart has announced plans to build a supercenter on Route 17 in Horry County, South Carolina at the Garden City Beach Connector. The company is planning for a store opening in the fall of 2008, but community opponents hope to make them miss that date. Wal-Mart submitted its plans to the Horry County planning department two months ago. The Horry county planning staff will make the decision on the 184,109 s.f. project. According to the Sun News, area residents say the location for this huge store couldn’t be worse. “That’s a dangerous place because of the traffic,” one area resident told the News. “How can the county do that without a public hearing? I don’t see why the community doesn’t stop it.” A Wal-Mart official explained, “The No. 1 thing for folks to understand is when we put in a new center, that’s to capture existing traffic.” In other words, all Wal-Mart is doing is shifting market share by redirecting shoppers to their location. Officials said Wal-Mart has not indicated if it will replace a vacant building on the site, or build on vacant land at the site. Wal-Mart already has five locations in Horry County.
Horry County is in the final stages of developing its “Envision 2025” Comprehensive Plan — a set of community goals and strategies to implement a vision for the future of the county. It serves as a flexible blueprint to guide decision-making by policy makers, community organizations and private property owners. The Comprehensive Plan includes goals and objectives, addressing issues relating to growth, housing, economic development, transportation, environment, aesthetics, community character, and neighborhood and historic preservation. The Envision 2025 Steering Committee started in March 2005. The county’s desire is to “maintain a sustainable economy, protect natural and cultural resources, accommodate growth, and provide for the efficient delivery of public services in a fiscally responsible manner… We envision a plan that will support responsible growth by conserving natural resources, enhancing cultural and historic assets, and providing adequate public infrastructure and community facilities… In so doing, the County will remain a desirable place to live and visit for future generations.” A huge, Wal-Mart supercenter makes no sense in this county, based on its land use goals and objectives. Readers are urged to contact the County’s Planning Director, Janet Carter, at 843-915-5340, or email her at [email protected] Tell her “Horry County has enough Wal-Mart’s. This superstores is an example of irresponsible growth, and doesn’t fit into Envision 2025. The traffic congestion will create a public safety problem.”