Girl Scout leaders are upset that Crescent Resources and York County officials could be leaving their Lake Wylie waterfront Camp Catawbaw high and dry.
Girl Scout leaders say they have few options for a camp that soon could be surrounded by a massive development after Crescent Resources backed out of a deal to buy their land. The 25-acre Camp Catawbaw is owned by the Hornets' Nest Girl Scout Council.
Lori Hurd, chief executive officer of the Hornets' Nest Council, is asking York County and Crescent Allison Creek to include the camp in a 1,430-acre project calling for offices, residential and mixed-use areas around Lake Wylie.
"I'm smart enough to know when I'm being railroaded," Hurd said. "We want to come up with a good solution that's fair. We're trying to get to a win-win."
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The Hornets' Nest Council, which covers eight counties in North and South Carolina, including York County, wants to use money from the sale of the camp toward the purchase of a 700-acre site in Iredell County. Camp Catawbaw, with 2,500 feet of water frontage, will likely sell for $3 million or more, Hurd said.
The problem is that the Girl Scouts are asking that Camp Catawbaw be rezoned the same as nearby property -- mixed use, which allows hotels, restaurants and retail shops. But county officials say they don't want that type of development on waterfront property.
If the camp property isn't rezoned to mixed use, Hurd said the land becomes less viable for development, and would not have traffic access from S.C. 274.
Tom Smith, the York County Councilman representing Lake Wylie, said the county wants to work with the Girl Scouts, but he said it won't compromise the well-being of the lake.
"We're not trying to keep them out of the picture," Smith said. "We're trying to do what's best for the property. We have certain uses we're trying to keep from being there. I feel positive we'll be able to work that out."
Hurd said if the camp is included in the lake development, the Girl Scouts will work with the county to eliminate improper waterfront businesses, such as gas stations or auto repair shops.
If the Girl Scouts get their request, their property would be the only water-adjacent area in the plan that allows mixed-use development. The plan calls for offices and low-density housing on the water, but not mixed-use development.
County Planning Director Susan Britt said county staff will be meeting with the Girl Scouts soon to try to work out a way to include them in the plan.
"Hopefully, through communication, we will be able to work forward for appropriate uses for that lakefront parcel," Britt said. "It does take some give and take."
If the Girl Scouts' property is included in the development plan, it could delay the final vote and public hearing on the project, scheduled for June 16, Britt said.
The Girl Scouts want to move from Camp Catawbaw, near S.C. 274 and Campbell Road, because of the size of the property and the safety issues surrounding the new development.
The deal for the Girl Scouts to sell the property to Crescent Resources fell through in mid-April, but Hurd said there are other parties interested in buying the land.
Upfitting the new Girl Scout camp is nearly a $20 million project, which was planned to be partly funded by the sale of the Camp Catawbaw property.
"Without the resources of this property, it will really slow us down," Hurd said.
The new Girl Scout camp, north of Interstate 40 and I-77, has a small lodge and a pavilion now. The Girl Scouts will spend about $10 million to build out the facilities.