Residents near Kimbrell Road fear increased traffic congestion from a pending development at the intersection of the newly-named North Dobys Bridge Road and Kimbrell Road.
Fort Mill Town Council members considered an ordinance that would annex approximately 28.6 acres at the intersection into Fort Mill at a July 28 meeting.
Development Solutions Group aims to develop a 150-townhome community on the property. The planning commission recommended by a vote of 4-3 to limit that number to 100 townhomes, according to the planning document.
The property sits near the Kimbrell Crossing, Ardrey Acres and Savannah Place subdivisions.
Tom Nalley, a resident who lives along Kimbrell Road, stressed that the area cannot handle an influx of traffic. He said the development would mean a more than 100 percent growth along Kimbrell Road.
“No area can stand that kind of growth,” he said. “This will completely change the character of our neighborhood.”
According to a 2012 and 2013 South Carolina Department of Transportation average daily traffic summary, North Dobys Bridge Road sits at 110 percent capacity while Kimbrell Road is at 36 percent. However, Kimbrell Road residents argue the road is already overused. Some drivers use it as a shortcut to Highway 160 East.
Joe Cronin, the town’s planning director, said a detailed traffic study, which takes into account peak times, will be needed to get accurate counts.
Nalley said the area’s schools are already overcrowded and the streets are filled even during school breaks. Doby’s Bridge Elementary School will open Aug. 18, leaving residents holding their breath how it will affect traffic.
“We’d like to urge that this not go through,” Nalley said.
Kimbrell Road resident Anna Brandl said residents don’t want to see more homes going into the area.
“Don’t ruin it on us,” she told Council members.
Councilman Tom Adams stressed that the growth is inevitable and will mean more use of Fort Mill’s roads and parks, regardless of annexation. However, bringing the development in would mean increased tax revenue for the town, he said.
Councilwoman Guynn Savage said traffic must be taken into consideration.
“Growth is not something that we can avoid, but it is something we need to manage,” she said.
Councilman Larry Huntley said the completion of the Fort Mill Southern Bypass may effect traffic in that area, though it is unclear by how much. Phase one of the Bypass (Banks to Holbrook roads) opened July 30.
Phil Leazer, York County Pennies for Progress program manager, explained some of the benefits of the new road.
“The opening of this section of the bypass will provide commuters an alternate route to get around Fort Mill, reducing the dependency for Highway 160 through downtown Fort Mill,” he said.
Leazer said the bypass allows commuters to get to their destination without contributing to traffic in downtown Fort Mill and reduces the number of cars having to travel North Dobys Bridge.
The council unanimously voted to defer a decision on the annexation until completion of a traffic study and the first phase of the Fort Mill Southern Bypass.
Another annexation, other business
Also at that meeting, council members:• Approved the second reading of an ordinance annexing approximately 47 acres at the intersection of Springfield Parkway and U.S. 21 Bypass.
• Approved the second reading of an ordinance adopting a Mixed Use Concept Plan and Development Conditions for the Rutledge MXU Project.
• Approved a request from Citizens for Historic Preservation, a nonprofit aimed at preserving historic resources in North and South Carolina, to allow the use of Walter Y. Elisha Park for First Friday Fort Mill.
First Friday Fort Mill, a fundraising event for Citizens for Historic Preservation, will feature gourmet food trucks, music, a kids zone and family-oriented entertainment, said Louis Roman, publisher of Fort Mill Magazine, one of the event sponsors. The event runs from 4 to 11 p.m. the first Friday of every month. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to explorethemill.com.
The next Town Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at Fort Mill Town Hall.