With the closing of RC’s Sandbar last month, some nearby residents want the town to make an opportunity of a troubling incident.
Cascades at River Crossing residents asked Fort Mill Town Council at its Dec. 8 meeting to keep the bar on Highway 21 Bypass closed and prohibit another one from taking its place. Officials did not vote on the issue Dec. 8.
Diane Brooks lives in Cascades and is also a Realtor. She wants the bar rezoned to protect home values, she said. Brooks said she’s seen buyers walk away or never submit an offer once Brooks discloses there is a bar across the street. Similar townhomes nearby are selling for more money, which she attributes to the bar.
“Cascades at River Crossing should be showing similar growth by now,” she said.
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Another resident, Inez Hicks, said the bar did not fit in the neighborhood.
“Immediately it became a nuisance,” she said.
Police officers have told Council that the noise from the bar does not exceed limits in town code.
But, when police break up noisy behavior, it dies down for a while and returns once the police leave, Hicks said.
The biggest cause for concern, residents say, is the incident that led to the bar closing. Police responded last month to a fight in the parking lot, and officers used a loud speaker to ask the crowd to leave. According to the report, a 23-year-old shot a pistol several times into the air, near where an officer stood.
Charges of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, discharging a firearm in city limits and public disorderly conduct followed.
Requests to change the zoning usually come from the property owner, but the town could initiate a proactive zoning, said Joe Cronin, town planning director. Council also can amend zoning districts to add or exclude certain permitted uses. Amending uses in a zoning district would impact all properties in town with that zoning.
Changing the shopping center where the bar is located to residential zoning would effect the Fort Mill Times office, a Charlotte Observer distribution center, Saussy Burbank and a vacant office space.
“To my knowledge, the property has been zoned highway commercial since the time it was annexed into the town limits,” Cronin said. “The property’s highway commercial zoning also pre-dates any of the neighboring residential communities which were subsequently developed.”
Without a change from Council, a bar can open in the former RC’s Sandbar space at any time.
“There is nothing in our zoning ordinance that would prohibit a bar or restaurant from re-opening in that location,” Cronin said.
Also at the Dec. 8 meeting, Council approved a contract, for just less than the $75,000 it budgeted, with LSL Planning for work on a new unified development ordinance.
Council also approved $69,936 to replace light poles and lights at Harris Street Park.
The new poles will be metal, and won’t need replacing later due to damage from natural causes, including woodpeckers, said Dennis Pieper, town manager.
“It would take a tough woodpecker,” Mayor Danny Funderburk joked.