Rock Hill approves selling land for QuikTrip near airport

adouglas@heraldonline.comDecember 10, 2012 

— Rock Hill could take in more than $1.5 million if the city closes on two deals to sell about four acres of land near the Rock Hill-York County airport and 10 near Winthrop University.

QuikTrip Corp., which runs more than 600 convenience stores in 11 states, has offered to buy land near the airport for $825,000. The property is at the corner of Celanese Road and Bryant Boulevard, next to the airport’s runway.

The store would be located near the entrance to the Airport Industrial Park. The location concerned some council members at their meeting Monday night.

The members said they worried the city didn’t have enough control over the design, signage and landscaping at the prospective QuikTrip store.

The contract between QuikTrip and the city was approved unanimously, but with a request from council members that Rock Hill be given more power over the store’s aesthetics.

Development in Rock Hill is subject to some approval by planning and zoning staff. But the city should be able to approve more than a site plan in this case, said councilman Kevin Sutton, because the convenience store wants to set up shop at the entrance of a business park.

Mayor Doug Echols and council member Kathy Pender said they shared Sutton’s goal of protecting the look of the business park.

Sutton said he was also concerned about losing $41,250 from the land sale to pay a real estate agent hired by QuikTrip, not the city.

The Charlotte agent is entitled to 5 percent of the purchase price, according to a contract given initial approval by the council on Monday.

The broker, according to city officials at the meeting Monday, approached the city on QuikTrip’s behalf. The city did not hire the broker to sell the land. But under the contract with QuikTrip, Rock Hill would be responsible for paying the commission fee.

The council’s initial approval of the sale includes the expectation that the broker’s fee will be removed before the final vote.

The council also considered a proposal to sell about 10 acres of city-owned land to the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation, or RHEDC, for $732,500.

The corporation wants to use the land between West White Street and Constitution Boulevard to create jobs as part of “Knowledge Park,” a business park between downtown Rock Hill and Winthrop.

Because of environmental issues, said RHEDC director Stephen Turner, the land has not been a viable option for investors.

RHEDC plans to work with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to rid the site of containments over the next several years. The city will also use some of the land later for widening West White Street and building an electric substation.

No vote on Celanese McDonald’s plan

In other action, the council deferred action on re-classifying some land in a Celanese Road neighborhood from residential to commercial.

Local developer Bryan Tuttle is acting on behalf of McDonald’s to prepare a site for a new restaurant on the corner of Monterey Drive and Celanese Road.

One Monterey Drive resident opposed the zoning change on Monday. A fast-food restaurant would worsen traffic problems in the neighborhood, Peggy Web said, and jeopardize safety for children playing at nearby homes.

The council will be asked to decide on the commercial re-classification on Jan. 14.

Council members unanimously approved changes to the city’s utility bill adjustment policy--placing a three-year statutue of limitations on refunds for overcharges and collection of undercharges from customers.

City staff members have said the change is intended to make the city’s policy agree with with state statute of limitations for refunding customers and collecting on undercharges.

The change comes after the city’s discovery about five months ago that it overcharged one industrial customer about $800,000 for several years of electric service.

Anna Douglas 803-329-4068

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