NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — Cherry Grove residents are saying "no" to future development in their county.
Fourteen residents protested along Sea Mountain Highway Saturday next to the Cherry Grove Drug store to send a message to the person who owns 52 acres of property they said are wetlands.
"You don't need to destroy this beautiful piece of property," said resident Bubby Vereen. As cars passed by and honked, they held signs that said, "Please help stop the development and concrete or nature."
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"We need to start putting our foot down and say enough is enough," Vereen said. He, along with other neighbors, said they're worried the property owner will build hundreds of homes there.
"We don't need more and more development," said Damien Triouleyre. "We have to be thoughtful about how much development we have."
ABC 15 reached out to the property owner David Prince of HPM Holdings, LLC.
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"We have no current plans submitted to build there. However, any vacant land is subject to development," Prince said. "I've owned the property for 15 years and I don't have any plans [to build]."
A spokesperson with the City of North Myrtle Beach also said it is untrue Prince is draining water from his property into the city's stormwater system.
"The stormwater retention pond located on the Cherry Grove Drug Store property adjacent to Mr. Prince’s land was constructed in 1989 with approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers. It collects stormwater on that site and prevents that site and some adjacent houses from flooding," Pat Dowling said in an email.
Some protestors claimed Prince is filling in the wetlands. The City of North Myrtle Beach's spokesperson said that is not the case.
"He brought in some loads of dirt to the uplands portion of his land. The City issued a stop order on that work because he did not apply for a necessary grading permit. He has not returned to apply for the needed permit and so the work remains stopped," Pat Dowling said.
David Prince offered a suggestion to those protesting.
"They need to get off their pocketbook and go ahead and buy it," he said.
The protesting neighbors offered a final plea.
"It just has to stop. We've got enough concrete houses. Build somewhere else," Bubby Vereen said.