COASTAL OBSERVER: DHEC rejects Hewitt’s call to delay new lines

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

As the clock ticks down on the comment period for new lines that will expand state jurisdiction along portions of the Waccamaw Neck’s beachfront, state Rep. Lee Hewitt’s phone continues to ring.

“DHEC’s been calling me every day,” he said.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control announced revised jurisdictional lines on Oct. 6. The deadline for public comment is Nov. 6. A public hearing on the lines is scheduled for Wednesday in Myrtle Beach. By law, the new lines must take effect by Dec. 31. It’s all too fast, officials and property owners say.

“My biggest problem is they’re doing this with no notice,” Hewitt said.

He and state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch, last week asked the leaders of the House and Senate to delay implementation of the lines until after the General Assembly reconvenes in January. “Speaker Lucas is with me on this,” Hewitt said, referring to Rep. Jay Lucas.

…Hewitt said he was told Wednesday by DHEC officials that they won’t delay the process.

…Hewitt plans to press the legislature and the governor’s office to delay implementation.

…Hewitt would like the review process extended to a year. [Pawleys Island Mayor]
Otis agreed that would be sufficient time for property owners to understand the process and get the data if they want to challenge the lines.

Right now, Hewitt said, “people don’t even know enough to ask questions at the public hearings.”

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