Note: Councilmember DiSabato's article is a part of profile series on all of Horry County's Council members. Stay tuned for more profiles over the coming days.
HORRY COUNTY — New York City native Dennis DiSabato may not have been born and raised in Horry County, but he considers it home.
"I've actually been down here longer than I've lived anywhere else in my life, so I consider myself from Horry County," DiSabato said.
The council vice chairman, who serves District 3, has been a part of county government since his election in 2016 and is now in his second term.
District 3 encompasses parts of Myrtle Beach and Carolina Forest.
With an interest in politics since he was a kid, DiSabato said he naturally became active in the Carolina Forest, where he resides.
He quickly became one of the first members of the Carolina Forest Civic Association's board of directors.
"I was an activist for the community," DiSabato said.
In 2012 and 2014, DiSabato had two unsuccessful, but close, runs for the South Carolina House of Representatives, which led to what he thought would be the end of his time in politics.
But the county council seat for District 3 opened up in 2015 when Marion Foxworth moved over to the Register of Deeds, and DiSabato had been asked to consider running in the special election. However, he declined as he had just gotten married to his wife, Laura DiSabato.
When 2016 came around, and the council seat was up for reelection, DiSabato decided it was time to run, leading to his election.
Since then, DiSabato’s main issues have focused on public safety and infrastructure, specifically within the Carolina Forest area.
"On the Carolina Forest side, it's really just infrastructure just trying to bring the infrastructure up to meet the demand of the people that are living there," DiSabato said.
DiSabato's district includes parts of Myrtle Beach along with part of Carolina Forest.
He explained most parts of his district within Myrtle Beach haven't had their issues handled by the county but did mention some pockets of infrastructure and the downtown redevelopment.
He was particularly proud of the Carolina Forest Boulevard widening project, which will be finalized at the beginning of July.
"It's something that needed to be done in that community probably 10 years ago," DiSabato said. "I'm glad we're finally at a point where we're able to do it … but I mean, that's just the beginning."
Along with the widening project, he mentioned some other infrastructure concerns he would like to address in the future, including the completion the SC 31 interchange on Augusta Plantation Drive and Revolutionary War Way, as well as eventually widening River Oaks Drive.
One project DiSabato said he has been fighting for a while is the possibility of a Horry County Police Department precinct in the Carolina Forest area.
"We need more police officers in the county, and I think the response times from the north precinct — it's not efficient for them to be coming from the north or the south precinct — we need a more centrally located precinct for that," DiSabato said.
Conversations surrounding a potential plans for a fifth county precinct in the Carolina Forest area have been discussed for some time.
During the February Administration Committee meeting, David Schwerd, director of the Horry County Planning and Zoning Department, presented three potential locations for the proposed Central Coastal Government Complex.
No official decisions on a site were made during the February 23 meeting.
The Carolina Forest area is one of the most rapidly growing areas in Horry County, according to the Imagine 2040 project.
When asked why he moved to the South years ago, DiSabato explained his parents moved down to the area when he started law school. So when after a few years in the East, he decided to come south to open his own practice.
DiSabato added the overly competitive attitude was a big drawback in New York.
"From a professional standpoint, I found it to be pretty refreshing; from a lifestyle standpoint, I mean like it's just a more relaxed pace," DiSabato said about Horry County.
DiSabato's term ends on Dec. 31, 2024. Horry County does not have a term limit on council positions.