When Crescent Communities planned The Sanctuary at Lake Wylie on 1,350 acre on the Steele Creek shoreline years ago, it was conceived as a development that would lay lightly upon the land.
Only 20 percent of its area would be developed, and fewer than 200 home sites would be available. Lots ranged from 2 to 13 acres. Rules encouraged builders to use green building practices. Setbacks from the water’s edge were double those mandated elsewhere on the lake. Where docks were permitted, they could not be built with any kind of roof that would increase their visibility on the shoreline. In short, the entire concept was to create a community that had a minimum impact upon the surrounding forest and lake.
Until now, that concept has been a reality. Anyone who has passed by on the water heading north would have been scarcely aware these acres of Lake Wylie’s most beautiful unspoiled land contained any development.
That apparent unspoiled tranquility has been abruptly shattered within the last two weeks. Trucks and tractors created an enlarged rip-rap wall along the entire length of shoreline of one of the lots, suddenly erecting an obviously man-made sloped wall of gray rock on a natural waterfront that remained unchanged since the early part of the last century.
There was nothing improper about the process. We understand the work was undertaken in the proper manner, with all necessary permits received from the governing authorities. We also understand why it was done: the natural shoreline of our lake is Carolina red clay, which over time erodes away with each rainfall, which naturally runs into the lake, creating those periods where the water appears brown and depositing the loosened silt downstream. It also causes the loss of waterfront land as the front erodes away.
We get it. The aim is well-intentioned, and the process done by the book. What we don’t understand is why there isn’t a more aesthetic way of accomplishing the aim of reducing unwanted polluting deposits into our water, without creating something akin to visual pollution. There must be a better way. We urge the governing authorities to insist future applicants employ less visually impactful methodology to achieve its worthwhile goal. Hopefully, this recent intrusion will serve as a stark example of what we don’t want to see repeated around the shores of the lake we all call home.