It is a sad day when the men voted to represent the people of York County choose developers over constituents.
Numerous residents of Lake Wylie have gone before council at every meeting since June, yet Councilman William Roddey says “we need to hear from the residents/neighbors.”
At the meeting Oct. 20, there were quite a few folks opposed to the Lake Wylie overlay. They consisted of developers and their lawyers, an uninformed real estate agent and a couple local land owners. I decided to speak to as many as possible to get their input and see what could be done to make the overlay acceptable to them, yet still have the protection from extreme density developers like Mattamy Homes, who has infiltrated our county and the results will be devastating to many of us. Bonum Road is just the beginning. They have three to four other developments in process.
I spoke to councilmen who led me to believe they would support the overlay with the proposed concessions. I spoke to a couple people concerned the overlay cut through someone’s yard and a proposed development beyond Highway 49. I agree with them the overlay should run with that major corridor. Bruce Henderson made this concession. Having changed this, a major landowner and a developer attended Monday night’s (Nov. 17) meeting and spoke for the overlay.
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That was the only pending development when concerns were brought to the attention of York County planning and development.
Due to unfortunate circumstances of the planning staff and/or county officials not following proper procedure, that developer is now working with us, the people of Bonum Road area. We hope to have open communication with them that results in positive changes to their plan for Lake Wylie.
We have asked for fewer homes, one-acre lakefront lot minimums and dark sky lighting. Councilman Roddey is concerned developments may be “in the works.” The only other pending developer that has purchased for the overlay.
When this ordinance was deferred Oct. 20, 30 days with a plan, what did our councilmen do during these 30 days?
If Mr. Roddy was concerned about not stepping on the toes of pending developers, he had 30 days to see if there were any.
I hold County Council personally accountable to the people of Lake Wylie for delaying an action for 30 days while nothing happened and for postponing a solution until nine months from now. By that time, there certainly will be other developers with their big feet in the door. The timing that was questioned was actually the best for the concerns of Mr. Roddey as no one has spent $100-200,000 on land or a plan.
I am not picking on Councilman Roddey, but his comments are great examples. He had so many concerns that had already been answered, or could have been answered during the meeting and were not.
It concerns me they and council do not realize the swiftness with which an overlay needed to happen for the Lake Wylie peninsula. And at the suggestion of a “tiered” overlay: The area is only from the bridge to Highway 49, which equals 2.7 miles, and from River Hills to other side at the widest point is 2.4 miles. These are approximate but show how small an area we were discussing.
It appears to me that although each council member represents an area, it is the responsibility of each council member to make good decisions based on the knowledge they gain from hearing recommendations from the council member elected and most familiar with another area.
In this case, Councilman Henderson was downright disrespected. He has listened to the neighbors, he did his due diligence to see what was pending and he made concessions based on those facts. He all but begged council for a second motion, and with reason; six out of seven of had already voted to pass the overlay twice before.
The threat of a developer suing caused our council to lose sight of what is important: The people who voted for them and are counting on them to do the right thing on their behalf. Will this require threat of a lawsuit by the people to bring them back to center?
The decisions made behind closed doors after this week’s meeting are unacceptable.
Councilman Roddey wanted to hear from the people of Lake Wylie, and I ask that you make this happen for him and his fellow council members.
Councilman Britt Blackwell’s suggestion that if we don’t like the “way council runs things, we should incorporate” is yet another disrespectful comment toward Henderson and his constituents. We have yet another option to incorporation; it’s called democracy and involves votes.
I guarantee there will not be developers lined up at the polls to vote because not only are they not from around here, they are only using and threatening council to get what they want and that is profitability.
Discouraged, disheartened and disappointed.
Allison Love is a Lake Wylie resident.