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Council limits rezoning of riverfront wetlands

Concern about filling wetlands on a Murrells Inlet tract next to Wacca Wache Marina led neighboring residents to gather at Georgetown County Council chambers this week.

Residents of Labruce Lane, which provides access to the property, feared council would rezone the entire 27 acres to “residential — half-acre,” as requested by the property owners, Ted and Andrea Peterson.

The property is almost entirely wetlands.

“We do not oppose the owner of the property building on areas that are highland, but we would like to ask council to consider not granting too much room for possible filling of wetlands,” Flavia Grainger said.

She called the property one of the last in the county “still in its beautiful natural state.”

Robert Smith questioned why anyone would “want a house in a swamp” anyway.

“I’ve seen this piece of property covered in water three times since I’ve been living there,” he said. He moved to Labruce Lane in 1965.

Council voted to uphold recommendations from staff and the commission, agreeing to rezone only the upland portion of the property, which is about 3 acres, to “residential — half-acre.” The rest will be “conservation preservation.”

Council also gave second reading to an ordinance to change the future land use map to show the property as “low density residential” and “conservation preservation.” The property was listed as “commercial,” something Boyd Johnson, the county planning director, said was likely a mistake due to its proximity to the marina.

The property owner also asked that a small area at the end of a road to the riverfront be given a residential zoning, Johnson said. County staff said that could be problematic as the property owner indicated they would apply for a permit to fill the wetlands in that area to build a house.

“We said when you get a permit come back and talk to us,” Johnson said. “We didn’t want it to look like we had already endorsed filling.”

A permit would have to be sought from the Corps of Engineers and would require a public hearing, he added.

Labruce Lane property owners met Aug. 11 with county planning staff to discuss a zoning change for their neighborhood that will lower the future density.

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