Heard: November 3, 2014.
Appeal From Horry County. J. Michael Baxley, Circuit Court Judge. Appellate Case No.2013-001188.
Emma Ruth Brittain, of Thomas & Brittain, P.A, of Myrtle Beach, for Appellant.
Gene McCain Connell, Jr., of Kelaher Connell & Connor, PC, of Surfside Beach, for Respondents.
KONDUROS, J. HUFF and SHORT, JJ., concur.
[411 S.C. 180] KONDUROS, J.:
The Horry County Zoning Board of Appeals (the Board) appeals the circuit court's order reversing the Board's decision finding a Mercy Care Hospice (MCH) facility could be built within the proposed area zoned Commercial Forest Agricultural (CFA). We reverse.
MCH proposed to build a fourteen-bed hospice facility on twenty-two acres of land it owns in Horry County. The property is located immediately adjacent to a subdivision, Wildhorse, and closest to the home shared by Fayrell Furr and his wife, Karole Jensen (collectively Respondents). The area is zoned CFA. The MCH property has no direct access from the closest main road, Highway 90, necessitating that the entrance to the MCH facility be immediately inside the entrance to the subdivision.
The current zoning ordinances do not specifically permit or prohibit a hospice. However, after reviewing the matter, the Horry County Zoning Administrator determined a hospice would be a permitted use in the CFA zone as either group housing or a nursing home. Respondents appealed that decision to the Board.
At the appellate hearing before the Board, opponents of the MCH facility expressed concern over increased traffic in the area, and Jensen presented newspaper articles discussing [411 S.C. 181] Highway 90 as a dangerous road. Concerns over possible ambulance activity and helicopter transport were raised, as well as concerns over the environmental impact the facility may have. Furr argued a hospice is a hospital, a use prohibited in the CFA zone. He cited to section 44-7-130(12) of the South Carolina Code (2002), which defines " hospital" as
a facility organized and administered to provide overnight medical or surgical care or nursing care of illness, injury, or infirmity and ...