Residents on board with Horry County plan to demolish abandoned homes

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Horry County has now named a few abandoned homes it plans to tear down.

County council recently passed an ordinance that gave the county administrator the power to demolish homes seen as unsafe, or eyesores.

According to News13’s Taylor Herlong, many of the residents off Reef Road in Myrtle Beach are on board with the county’s plan.

“The grass is very, very high,” describes Donna Smithey, who lives beside one of the abandoned homes. “The house is all broken up. The roof. The siding is coming off of it and people are throwing garbage in the yard.”

Smithey insists the home is a health risk.

“I’ve been in and out of the hospital and I think it’s hard for anybody to breathe with the rats and we’re trying to get rid of them. Those rodents are very hard to get rid of,” Smithey complains.

An elderly man lived next door and moved out about two years ago and ever since, Smithey has had a problem with rats and mice. Now, Smithey is moving.

“We tried calling for them to come to do something and nobody ever did anything about it, and we’ve been very upset, and that’s one of the reasons for leaving because of the situation with the house next door,” says Smithey.

County council approved demolition of the property and another on Piedmont Avenue. The county first notifies the owners, then holds a public hearing.

“Once we do that, then we can lien the property for what it cost us to clean the property up,” said Horry County Council Chair Mark Lazarus.

Council chair Lazarus says passing the ordinance is all part of a bigger plan.

“The biggest thing that we’re trying to do through state legislation is to include commercial property. Right now, county government is not allowed to do commercial property. So, a building up on restaurant row that we’ve talked about, we would have already torn that down if we had had that access,” said Lazarus.

Under the ordinance, property owners get 60 days from the time the property is posted before the county starts with demolition.  Horry County court documents show the owners of both homes did not object to the county moving forward.