GEORGETOWN COUNTY — New construction permits increased by more than 200 in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting a strain on the economy and jobs along the Hammock Coast.
Georgetown County issued 561 new construction permits in between the start of the year through Dec. 22 — up from the 333 issued during that time in 2019, said Holly Richardson, the county’s chief planner.
“Permitting has been pretty steady,” Richardson said.
Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 22, the county issued 384 single family residence permits, 169 townhouse permits, one multifamily permit which makes up 15 units and 7 commercial building permits. The figures indicate permits for new construction and do not include permits for projects like remodeling, additions or mobile homes.
During that same time period in 2019, the county issued 279 single family residence permits, 11 townhouse permits, two multifamily permits making up 30 units, and 14 commercial building permits.
Richardson said most of the growth in Georgetown County is along the Waccamaw Neck — which spans from Murrells Inlet through Pawleys Island — and is both residential and commercial, while growth is slower on the other side of the double bridges in Georgetown.
The growth on the Waccamaw Neck has led to the U.S. 17 Companion Corridor Study, which kicked off in July 2019, and has been a process of receiving public input about how buildings approach U.S. 17 and potential bike paths along the highway.
Though some of those projects are 20 years out, the county is preparing for that growth through studies, Richardson said.
This year, the planning department has had to find new ways to deal with the public visiting the office due to the pandemic and safety guidelines, forcing the office to require plats to be submitted electronically and now operating by appointment only.
“I think it’s an accomplishment we were able to keep things open and keep the permit process happening,” Richardson said.