GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Dozens of community members went to the Murrells Inlet Community Center Wednesday night to share their input about the growth they’d like to see in their community.

Georgetown County officials received feedback from neighbors on the land use element of the county’s comprehensive plan.

“I would say this is probably one of the most important parts of the whole process,” Irene Dumas-Tyson, director of planning for the Boudreaux Group, said, “hearing from the community, listening to the community.”

That element of the plan will guide development in Georgetown County for the next 10 years.

“It’s a great guide for the county to use because growth is coming to Georgetown County,” Dumas-Tyson said.

However, many neighbors at Wednesday’s input meeting worry that rapid growth may not be the best thing for the county.

“For me,” Donna McEntire, who lives in Murrells Inlet, said, “it’s the environmental impact. People love to come here because they love the inlet, they love the animals and everything that goes along with it. As you build, you take away their habitat, it also will increase the flood factor as well.”

“It scares me because,” Denise Hanchulak said, “one, do we have the infrastructure to support it? Two, you’re just clearing all these lands, what about the animals, the environment? It’s too much at once.”

Some community members not only had issues with the proposed plan and the potential impacts it could have in the area, but also, how the meeting was ran.

“We’re concerned with the format for this meeting,” Georgetown County resident Gary Weinreich said, “which doesn’t allow any dialogue amongst members of the community. Putting stickers on charts doesn’t solve our main problem.”

Weinreich, who is a member of the group Preserve Murrells Inlet, says he hopes county leaders listen to neighbors who want to protect the characteristics of the island that make it so unique.

“The people keep saying stop,” Weinreich said. “We want growth, but in lower density, small businesses, all the things that make the Waccamaw Neck so attractive to residents, visitors and the like.”

There will be another public input meeting on Thursday, September 7, at 5:30 p.m., at the Choppee Recreation Center.