It’s nothing more than a name right now, but a new town ordinance could pave a path toward redevelopment of the old Food Lion shopping center at the corner of Tom Hall Street and Doby’s Bridge Road.
On Monday night, Fort Mill Town Council approved an ordinance in name only to change a zoning requirement in the Tom Hall Street Corridor District overlay to allow for larger projects. Currently new construction in that overlay can’t exceed 15,000 square feet.
“That’s going to limit your redevelopment opportunities,” said Joe Cronin, town planning director.
Cronin told Council he’d met with a developer in the past week and that a new plan for the property is imminent. But it hinges on being able to put a larger building or buildings on the property than what’s allowed. The strip mall that used to be anchored by a Food Lion is still home to a restaurant, dry cleaner and a discount variety store is, by comparison, about 50,000 square feet.
“Absent any changes, we’re not likely to see any redevelopment on that property anytime soon,” Cronin said.
Municipalities sometimes pass first readings of ordinances in name only, meaning there wasn’t actually any language put before Council as to what the new requirement might be. That way when the full ordinance comes later it already has one approval behind it. Councilmen Tom Spratt and Tom Adams questioned the need to give initial approval Monday, though the vote ultimately was unanimous.
Cronin said a letter of intent is in place from an occupant and a developer is ready to move. Cronin has “four or five different options” of what the new requirement might be based on meeting with the planning commission in two weeks. By passing first reading, Council will be able to make a final decision next month once it reviews the changes.
“This will basically allow us to move that calender up a month,” Cronin said.