South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

In 1990 when Myrtle Trace, a community located near Conway, was developed, a buffer area was set aside as a nature preserve and mitigation for wetlands filled by the developer, International Paper (IP). This land also served as a buffer area between the Myrtle Trace residential development and the Conway Hospital complex. The property was later sold to another developer, Hospital Land Partners Realty, who proposed to develop the 8.5 acre tract of land that was set aside by constructing an assisted living facility. SCELP assisted a neighborhood group in overturning this permit and we were successful. DHEC and the Court of Common Pleas ruled that the 1990 set-aside of the land was binding and denied the requested permits.

Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals reversed this decision and ordered issuance of the permits. We asked the SC Supreme Court to review this decision but this request was denied in July, 2009.

We also filed an action for declaratory judgment in state court seeking a ruling that recorded plats require that this tract remain a buffer, and seeking damages for cutting of trees in the buffer area. That suit had been stayed pending resolution of the DHEC permit appeal, but now that the Supreme Court has denied cert, that case has become active.

Case Update

This case is on the roster for January 4, 2011, but we have been working very hard to reach a settlement agreement with all parties. IP has agreed to pay $37,500. We are awaiting a response from Hospital Land Partners, but are very hopeful that we can reach an agreement.

Myrtle Trace

The lush landscape pictured here behind Renzo Falcinelli's future home (in a pre-construction photo) is now destroyed.