New impact fee to increase prices of new houses in Horry County

Horry County, South Carolina – The new impact fee that the county council is looking to implement will increase building and construction price in Horry County. Business owners and new homeowners will be both affected of this, people say.

The county wants to pay for the growth with an impact fee. That being said, the impact fee will be used for investing in public safety and transportation. The county council looks forward not to scare the businesses with the new fee.

“We’re having houses popping up like mushrooms everywhere,” said Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught. “There’s so much empty space in Horry County that there’s no end to it in sight right now.”

He has been one of the many pushing these kinds of feed in the past years. Two years ago, there was a serious discussion in starting the fee, but the pandemic put the whole thing on pause.

“You build a two hundred home development, and it takes something like ten or twelve years for the property taxes those people pay to catch up with what we needed to provide for them to build that development,” said Vaught.

The second reading of the proposed fee passed on Tuesday. According to county council, building companies will have to pay $120 to $1,800 per new single-family house depending on where this house will be located. It’s a simple logic that this cost will eventually be considered as construction cost and the new owners will have to pay it in the end. In other words, new houses will be more expensive for $120 to $1,800.

However, there is an issue with the impact fee. If the county council wants to implement the fee to new houses, from a legal perspective, they will have to implement similar fee for business although this is not council’s intention.

“That’s going to kill small businesses,” said Vaught. “It was not our intent at all to do that kind of thing.”

His other issue is the money has to be spent on infrastructure, not employees. He used police as an example.

“You can build them a station, you can buy them a car, you can put a computer in that car, you can buy them guns, but you cannot pay a policeman to ride around in that car,” said Vaught.

The ordinance needs one more voting. If everything goes as planned, it will be put into force starting in the middle of next month.

Monica Doyle


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