Carolina Forest, South Carolina
|Carolina Forest, South Carolina|
|— Unincorporated Community —|
|• Total||25.4 sq mi (65.7 km2)|
|• Land||24.7 sq mi (63.9 km2)|
|• Water||1.1 sq mi (2.8 km2)|
|Elevation||39 ft (12 m)|
|• Density||321/sq mi (124.1/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
Carolina Forest is an unincorporated community in Horry County, South Carolina, United States. It lies between Myrtle Beach and Conway in an area planned by International Paper in the late 1990s. Regarded as the "bedroom community" of Myrtle Beach, the planned unit development will have 20,000 single and multi-family homesites when completed. Most of the development follows the Carolina Forest Master Plan developed cooperatively between International Paper and the Horry County Government.
Carolina Forest was once part of a larger tract of land in eastern Horry County called the Buist Tract. Originally owned by Burroughs & Chapin, International Paper bought the 30,000-acre (121 km2) Buist Tract in 1937. It was used as part of the Conway Bombing and Gunnery Range during World War II. In 1960, the company donated part of the tract for what is now Coastal Carolina University (located several miles away from Carolina Forest). In 1989, approximately 9,000 acres (36 km2) north of Carolina Forest were donated to the state to form the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Trust Preserve.
In June 1994, Kylee Mueller sold 125 acres (0.51 km2) of the remaining 21,000 acres (85 km2) of the Buist Tract to Horry County Schools for development of Carolina Forest Elementary School, Carolina Forest Middle School, and Carolina Forest High School. In addition, 350 acres (1.4 km2) were sold to form a golf course and residential property.
By the end of 1994, International Paper began to sell more of its land. Due to the lack of funding from other sources for road infrastructure, the first 1.25 miles (2.01 km) of Carolina Forest Boulevard were completed by November 1995 by International Paper. Further expansions of both Carolina Forest Boulevard and River Oaks Drive (creating an 11-mile (18 km) loop) would open up 11,000 acres (45 km2) to development west of the Intracoastal Waterway. Carolina Forest Boulevard was completed in December 1996, with River Oaks Drive being completed in December 1997.
On December 2, 1997, Horry County council voted to freeze zoning rules in an 11 square miles (28 km2) area of Carolina Forest for 20 years in exchange for land to build parks and roads in an 8-3 vote on the development agreement. An estimated 35,000 people would live in the 7,073 acres (29 km2) acres covered by the agreement. In the agreement, Horry County did not require International Paper to widen Carolina Forest Boulevard or River Oaks Drive to four lanes. Land would be given to the county at no cost for the then-future SC Highway 31 north and south of the Robert Grissom Parkway bridge. Approximately 140 acres (0.57 km2) was set aside for future schools, which would include Ocean Bay Elementary and Middle Schools. Because nearly half of Carolina Forest was open space, the area was exempt from future open space directives set by Horry County.
There are six public schools in the Carolina Forest attendance area and all are part of the Horry County School District. During the late 1990s, three schools were built to accommodate new residents in Carolina Forest. Carolina Forest Elementary School was opened in 1996 on Carolina Forest Boulevard. Carolina Forest Middle School and Carolina Forest High School were built on a combined campus in 1997 on Gardner Lacy Road. As of 2006, attendance had effectively doubled at Carolina Forest Elementary and approximately half of the school's population were being taught in portable classrooms. The middle and high school complex was also approaching its capacity, serving over 1700 students.
To address the growth, Horry County Schools began building three additional schools to serve the attendance area. Carolina Forest Middle was split into two new schools, Ocean Bay Middle and Black Water Middle. Ocean Bay Elementary School and Ocean Bay Middle School, both located on International Drive, were completed in time of Fall 2006 classes. A third school, Black Water Middle School, was built and opened just before end of the 2006-2007 school year. Students of this school continued to meet in the joint middle and high school complex until the school was completed. The middle and high school complex will be renovated exclusively for Carolina Forest High School. The Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology is located adjacent to Ocean Bay Middle School and opened in December 2007.
There are many recreational opportunities in the Carolina Forest area. There are two golf courses in Carolina Forest, Man O' War and The Wizard golf courses. Both are located next to Windsor Green and Waterford Plantation. The River Oaks neighborhood, which borders Carolina Forest, also has several golf courses. Originally in the master plan, Carolina Forest intended to have ten golf courses, but the slight decline of the golf industry in Myrtle Beach has prevented this. Recently, The Wizard golf course was meant to be redeveloped into a multi-family tract but was defeated by the Horry County council in October 2006.
Future recreational areas have been set aside in Carolina Forest. International Paper initially set aside parkland, roadway easements, reserves, and animal corridor land, some of which has not been disturbed and continues to be virgin forestland. Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve, a vast tract of land set aside by the state of South Carolina, borders Carolina Forest and is accessible through International Drive and Highway 90.
Roads and Highways
- Carolina Forest Boulevard - the main arterial through Carolina Forest. A segment near Carolina Forest Plaza and US 501 is five lanes and narrows into two lanes near Carolina Forest Elementary School. The remaining 4.7 miles (7.6 km) of the 6.2 miles (10.0 km) road is planned to be widened to a multi-lane, divided highway with bicycle paths at a cost of $9 to $10 million.
- River Oaks Drive - similar to Carolina Forest Boulevard, River Oaks Boulevard carries traffic as an alternative route to Carolina Forest Boulevard. The road terminates near Towne Centre at International Drive.
- International Drive - one of the original dirt roads, International Drive connects Carolina Forest and South Carolina 31 to South Carolina 90.
- South Carolina 31 - a six-lane freeway that runs through Carolina Forest. Land was set aside by International Paper when Carolina Forest was developed in 1997; the freeway was built five years later and has a separated-grade interchange at International Drive/Robert Grissom Parkway.
|Subdivision Name||Original Developer||Original Inception||Number of Lots||Type||Community Website(s)|
|Avalon Plantation||Beazer Homes||2000||Single Family Residential||http://www.avalonatcarolinaforest.com|
|BelleGrove||Centex Homes||2003||Single Family Residential||http://www.bellegrovehoa.com|
|Brighton Lakes||Flagship Capital Partners||2006||Single Family Residential||http://www.brightonlakesmb.com|
|Canterbury Apartments||Babcock & Brown Residential||1998||Apartments||http://www.canterburyapt.com|
|Covington Lake||Pace Realty||1996||250||Single Family Residential||http://www.covingtonlakepoa.com|
|Covington Lake East||Pace Realty||2006||Single Family Residential||http://www.covingtonlakeeast.com|
|Carolina Waterway Plantation||2004||364||Single Family Residential||none|
|Plantation Lakes||RE/MAX Southern Lifestyles||2003||Single Family Residential||http://www.plantationlakesmyrtlebeach.com|
|Southgate||1999||Single Family Residential|||
|Spring Lake||Centex Homes||1997||Single Family Residential||http://www.springlakenews.net|
|The Bluffs on the Waterway||2003||423||Single Family Residential||http://www.thebluffsonthewaterwayhoa.com|
|The Battery on the Waterway||2004||99||Single Family Residential||none|
|Black Creek Plantation||2002||Single Family Residential||none|
|The Farm||D. R. Horton||2003||Single Family Residential, Condominiums||http://www.farmatcarolinaforest.com|
|Turnberry Condominiums||Pace Realty||2006||Condominiums||http://www.turnberrypark.com|
|Walkers Woods||Beazer Homes||2000||Single Family Residential||http://www.walkerswoodspoa.com|
|Waterbridge||2007||1230||Single Family Residential||http://www.waterbridgesc.com|
|Waterway Palms Plantation||762||Single Family Residential||none|
|Waterford Plantation||1997||Single Family Residential||none|
- "IP Asks Permission to Lengthen Road," Mike Soraghan, The Sun News, July 4, 1996
- "Horry County Approves Carolina Forest Pact," Mike Soraghan, The Sun News, December 3, 1997
- "Carolina Forest community hoping for benefits from redistricting," Brad Dickerson, The Sun News, June 16, 2011
- "International Paper Takes Road-Building into its Own Hands in Myrtle Beach," Myrtle Beach Sun News, December 12, 1994
- "Developers Begin Buying Land in Buist Tract in South Carolina," Myrtle Beach Sun News, March 26, 1995
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