Wizard golf course to remain open as developers step down

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The Wizard Golf Course at Carolina Forest.

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The Wizard Golf Links will remain open as a course after the developers told county leaders they were stepping away from potential plans to build hundreds of new homes on the property.

Horry County spokesman Kelly Moore confirmed on Tuesday that development firm G3 Engineering & Surveying has let county leaders know they will not go ahead with a discussed zoning change request to build apartments and single-family homes on the course in the Carolina Forest area.

“The county has received notice from the people managing this project that they are not going ahead with this project,” Moore said.

The golf course would have closed if the property’s zoning had been changed to allow for a housing project and a sale to the developer had been made, but course partner Claude Pardue said the proposal had not reached the point of being the subject of a sales contract.

“It was really a business that was testing the waters,” said Pardue, president of DG Golf Management, which owns and operates both The Wizard and the neighboring Man O’War Golf Club. “I will always listen to people. I will never say to you or anyone else definitely “no” to anything because I don’t think a smart person shuts their mind. But for now, we’re good to go and The Wizard is going to be spectacular this spring. ”

Why the plan was withdrawn

Felix Pitts, the developer at G3 Engineering who was leading the dezoning and development project, did not answer a phone call for comment on Tuesday. But County Council member Dennis DiSabato, who represents the Carolina Forest region, said the developers have likely pulled out of the plans due to community opposition.

“You saw what kind of feedback the community has given on this Plum Branch project on Gardner Lacy Road. It would have been 50 times worse, ”said DiSabato, referring to a rezoning proposal requested by Pitts and G3 Engineering earlier in the year that residents of Carolina Forest organized themselves against. “They recognized that he was not supported by neighboring communities.

At a community meeting in October, G3 Engineering unveiled plans to build 683 new homes on 168 acres of The Wizard’s property, including 400 single-family homes and 283 apartments. The plans also called for the formal preservation of part of the property, meaning it could never be developed.

But Carolina Forest residents told county leaders and developers at the community meeting that they opposed the project and wanted the course to remain open. Several residents said they had a view of the course from their homes and did not want that view to become more of a dwelling.

“Right now we have a view of the golf course, it’s magnificent, that’s one of the reasons why we bought the condo. Then they come up with that, ”said resident Raymond Britton, owner of a condo in neighboring The Fountains development, at the October meeting. “Now we understand that he was shot two other times, this is the third time. To be honest with you, we hope he gets shot again.

This most recent attempt to turn The Wizard into housing was the third time developers have pursued such plans. Two other attempts had been made, and abandoned, in the past 15 years.

In 2019, a proposal to build 700 single and multi-family homes met strong opposition from area residents, and some council members including Danny Hardee, whose district contains the course, said they would not consider any residential zoning change before a Carolina forest. The project to widen the boulevard was finished. This project was completed this summer.

In 2006, an application to change the zoning to a planned development district (PDD) with a project of 650 housing units was refused by the county council.

The future of the sorcerer

Residents of Carolina Forest have said they oppose plans to build homes on The Wizard because more homes in the area will increase traffic and burden other infrastructure, such as schools and public safety services. Residents of the Waterford Plantation neighborhood, for example, said they were concerned about additional traffic on the roads in their neighborhood, which some described as already congested and dangerous.

But such concerns are common in the Carolina Forest area, and Pitts said in October that G3 was continuing the project with the needs of the community in mind, knowing that previous attempts had failed. He said they held the October community meeting to gather feedback from residents before submitting a request to rezone the land from its current status from planned development to residential.

Due to the community’s setback, however, the company ultimately never submitted a request to rezone the land, Moore said. G3 Engineering has informed the county in recent days that no applications will be filed, Moore said.

DiSabato said on Tuesday he was happy the golf course, a 6,721-yard Dan Maples draft that opened in 1996, remains open for the time being.

“As much as these communities don’t want this to turn into a housing community, neither do they want it like a run down golf course,” he said.

DG Golf Management, which also operates as Mystical Golf, was a three-course business until Nov. 21, when it closed The Witch Golf Links ahead of a sale to home builder RS ​​Parker Homes, according to Pardue. A county-approved plan for part of this property provides for a 326-unit residential development comprising 115 townhouses and 211 single-family homes and 6 acres of commercial development along SC 544.

The first nine of The Witch, which will not be redeveloped, meander through swamps and wetlands off the Waccamaw River and were regularly inundated, leading to the sale, Pardue said.

“To be honest about it, I’m looking to buy,” Pardue said. “We sold one because of the issues we had with The Witch and we wanted to get out of debt, and selling The Witch did, and I’m ready to rock and roll. I’m looking to buy a third. … I am very confident in the direction we are taking as an industry.

DiSabato added that if the county completes road improvement projects in the Carolina Forest – like connecting Gardner Lacy Road to International Drive and extending Postal Way to give US 501 an alternate route – the development of The Wizard may be possible in the future.

Such projects, however, are years away. The county recently purchased land to build an SC 31 interchange at Augusta Plantation Drive, although construction of that road could take years. And the county will likely have to wait until 2025 for Gardner Lacy Road funding.

“I don’t know what the future holds for this property,” said DiSabato.

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J. Dale Shoemaker covers Horry County Government with an emphasis on government transparency, data and how county government serves residents. Graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016, he previously covered the City of Pittsburgh government for the nonprofit media PublicSource and worked on the Data & Investigations team at nj.com in New Jersey. Recipient of several local and national awards, the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania and the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone State Chapter, recognized him in 2019 for his investigation into a problematic Pittsburgh Police Department tech entrepreneur, a series that has headed the Pittsburgh City Council. enact a new law on the transparency of city contracts. You can share tips with Dale at [email protected]

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Alan Blondin covers Coastal Carolina golf, college and athletics, as well as many other sports-related topics that deserve coverage. Well versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the 1992 Northeastern University School of Journalism Promotion Major has been a Sun News reporter since 1993 after working for newspapers in Texas. and Massachusetts. It has won eight of the Associated Press Sports Editors’ Top 10 National Writing Awards and 20 of the SC Press Association’s top three writing awards since 2007.

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