York County residents living near the proposed Dave Lyle Boulevard extension east of the Rock Hill Galleria received little comfort Tuesday night for their concerns about the would-be roadway's impact on their lives and properties.
About 30 property owners in the project area came to a meeting at York Technical College where York County staff shared ideas on how the corridor should be developed if and when the roadway comes.
Losing their quality of life to rapid development, increased traffic, environmental concerns, and the possibility of being annexed into the city of Rock Hill were among issues residents raised.
Project advocates, including Winthrop University trustee Kathy Bigham, asked critics to consider the jobs and tax revenue the roadway is expected to create.
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The project, now 14 years in the works and broadly supported by business and government leaders, has been on hold pending a way to pay for it. Earlier studies estimated costs at around $162 million, though actual costs will be lower, County Manager Jim Baker said after the meeting.
Seeking support for the project, the county recently renewed an application to the State Infrastructure Bank, but the money is far from a guarantee, Baker said. There likely will be significant competition from other governments planning their own transportation projects.
Still, county leaders want to have a vision for the area if and when dollars come through. That vision they laid out in a land-use map, complete with graphics denoting different types of development.
Development along the corridor wouldn't be as continuous as Cherry Road in Rock Hill, county staff assured residents. Instead, commercial development would be concentrated at major intersections and development overall would grow more sparse and more focused on residential uses farther from the city.
Responding to concerns area property owners expressed in a survey, county staff included in the plan requirements for open space, parks, trails and other recreational opportunities, but they won't know exactly where those facilities will be until development is under way, they said.
"We can work with individual property owners and developers to get those on the ground," said Dave Pettine, planning and development director.
Road construction and development are still a long way off, and if funding came through for the project, an environmental study and reconsideration of the roadway's path would come first, Pettine said.
One property owner said with so many undecided details,such as the road's exact alignment, it's difficult for her to gauge the impact the road will have.
Tiffany Thompson sought clarification on what would happen to her property, located in an area slated for commercial development, if the roadway came through.
Only landowners can request changes to their property's designated use, staff said.
Another property owner described how the state transportation department met with her several times in the late 1990s when plans for the road were being developed. They brought maps and explained how the area around her property would change, she said.
After the meeting, Jill Morrison pointed out her horse pasture located in a striped area on the land-use map designated for office and multifamily residential housing.
She's worried what the planned road and development would mean for her way of life and her property.
"It's like watching the fires out West," she said. "It's coming."