Development at Legends Drive has residents concerned over road conditions and how to pay for improvements

Pot hole on Legends Drive, August 11, 2017

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – People who live along Legends Drive say the road needs a lot of work and a new housing development in the works will only add to the problem.

The proposed housing plan passed the Horry County Planning & Zoning Commission and will be heard by County Council.

The new development would bring hundreds of new homes to the end of Legends Drive and about 40 new homes to the other side of Legends golf course at Carolina Lakes Boulevard.

The developments are under the same zoning plan, but physically separate.  Both areas are in Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught’s district.

Vaught says concerns over having multi-family homes on Carolina Lakes Boulevard have been worked out with the developer, DDC Engineers Inc., and the new homes will now be all single family.

“I’m very satisfied with our progress at the Carolina Lakes end of it,” said Vaught, “as far as I’m concerned now it’s the Legends Drive aspect of it.”

Legends Drive is a private road that Vaught says hasn’t been upgraded in twenty years.  According to county officials the new housing development would nearly triple the amount of traffic on the road which has only one exit onto Highway 501.

“It has not been maintained well and it’s been beaten up pretty bad and residents already have a complaint problem there,” said Vaught.

Robert Kissell lives nearby and agrees, “I think they need a lot of work.  There’s pot holes in there, the side of the road is caving in, there’s going to be a bad accident one day.”

But fixing the road doesn’t come cheap, “it’s about a million dollars a mile to redo roads like that, so they’re faced with a quandary, how is that going to be fixed?” explained Vaught.

The developer owns the roughly 2 mile long road, county officials would like to see it widened and have turning lanes added for existing developments.

Vaught says the ultimate goal is for the county to take over control and maintenance of the road, but it would need to be upgraded to meet current standards before that can happen.

“He (the developer) can pay for it himself or there is the option of putting a special tax district in that area over there,” said Vaught.

The special tax district would increase taxes for folks who live in the area; for it to happen, council would need to approve a petition that was submitted by 15% of area residents.

The county would then have to put the tax question on the ballot for a vote by residents and approved by 51% of voters.

But many people in the area wonder why they should foot the bill.

“I’ve been asked the same question asked of me that you just asked me, why he is not paying for it himself?” said Vaught.

It’s something homeowner’s like Kissell, also want to know, “I wouldn’t want the taxpayer to pay for it all, I think the developer needs to pay something towards it, if not all of it.”

Vaught says he’s not sure how the developer wants to move forward, but with multiple home owner associations that would also have to agree, creating the special tax district could be a time consuming effort.

Vaught says County Council will take plans for the road into consideration when it reviews the current rezoning plan, and for any future development projects.

Horry County Council next meets on August 22nd, but its agenda has not yet been released.

News13 reached out to the developer for comment, but have not heard back.