Carolina Forest, South Carolina
|Carolina Forest, South Carolina|
Sign at the entrance to Carolina Forest at the intersection of US 501 and Carolina Forest Boulevard
Carolina Forest, South Carolina
Location of Carolina Forest in
|Coordinates: 33°45′29″N 78°58′1″W / 33.75806°N 78.96694°WCoordinates: 33°45′29″N 78°58′1″W / 33.75806°N 78.96694°W|
|• 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)|
|Population (2014 est.)|
|• 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 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.
According to the 2010 census, Carolina Forest's population increased from 3400 in 2000 to 21,000.
Roads and Highways
- Carolina Forest Boulevard
- River Oaks Drive
- International Drive
- Gardner Lacy Road
- South Carolina Highway 31
- Brighton Lakes
- Covington Lake
- Carolina Waterway Plantation
- Plantation Lakes
- Sawgrass East
- Spring Lake
- The Battery
- Black Creek Plantation
- The Bluffs
- The Farm
- Walkers Woods
- Waterway Palms Plantation
- Waterford Planation
- Windsor Green
- "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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