Margaret Barber wants to annex her family home into Fort Mill town limits and turn it into a bed and breakfast this fall.
Fort Mill Town Council was scheduled to take its first look at the plan Monday night.
“It was my homeplace,” Barber said. “I grew up there. The home was built in ’52.”
The annexation request includes all of two properties and part of two more. Evan and Margaret Barber own less than 2 acres at 600 S. Sutton Road and 599 Smythe Road. They live at the Sutton Road address and at the Smythe Road location, they have a building that was moved from where the Circle K is now at Sutton and the Hwy. 21 Bypass.
The Barbers want to convert that building into a bed and breakfast.
The two other properties involved in the annexation are neighboring parcels where owners agreed to allow easements. Their inclusion brings the bed and breakfast property contiguous with town limits.
Current zoning for the Barber properties allows single-family or modular homes, agriculture uses, parks, schools and other options. It also requires 20 percent open space. Margaret Barber is also asking to change the zoning to allow for a bed and breakfast, among other uses.
The town’s planning commission unanimously voted in favor of the annexation last month. Joe Cronin, town planning director, wrote in his recommendation prior to Council’s meeting Monday that land use planning has the area as mixed use, combining residential and commercial use.
“The comprehensive plan envisions a gradual shift within this node from low density residential to higher density residential and commercial uses,” he wrote.
At present, the new zoning would allow both for the bed and breakfast and for the continued residential use on Sutton Road.
“In the future, it is envisioned that this entire corridor may gradually transition toward mixed use or highway commercial style development,” Cronin wrote.
Margaret Barber said she’s dreamed of opening the bed and breakfast at least since her former home was moved to its current spot to make way for the gas station. She wants to create a meeting place for small events, book or civic clubs, even small weddings.
“Here was an opportunity to realize that,” she said. “The house tells a story.”
The Belle Crane Inn takes its name from Barber’s mother. It will keep hardwood floors and add screened porches and memorabilia from Fort Mill’s past. Long-time residents may notice a familiar feel where Barber’s mother styled the hair of so many women.
“I wanted to stay a sense of place,” Barber said. “I could not bear to see the house torn down.”
Opening of the new facility is dependent on the annexation. It would open this fall and the family hopes to capitalize on nearby attractions like Rock Hill’s Riverwalk and Giordana Velodrome, Fort Mill’s river access and regular events like graduations.