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Planners vote no on Lake Wylie overlay changes

A capacity crowd watched Monday night as York County’s planning commission voted not to recommend changes to a Lake Wylie overlay district.

The commission voted 4-3 against changes that would restrict residential development along S.C. 49 from the Buster Boyd Bridge past Three Points, to the S.C. 557 intersection at Oakridge Road. Joe Baird, who represents the Lake Wylie area, served as chairman and didn’t cast a vote Monday. The York County Council holds a third and final reading, along with a public hearing, on Monday.

More than 50 people listened as the planning commission debated the plan, many in the audience holding signs protesting growth in Lake Wylie. The overlay changes would restrict all residential development within 2,000 feet of the lake along Lake Wylie’s busiest thoroughfare to single-family. They would increase lot sizes to at least an acre, and increase buffer and open space.

The changes wouldn’t impact commercial or industrial zoning, including rezoning for those uses.

“Whatever’s permitted in the underlying zoning, that’s what they could build,” said Steve Allen, county planning services manager.

Commissioner David Thomas brought up a concern common to County Council, that sweeping change infringes on property rights. Thomas said a developer buying land with the rules in place are not an issue, but his concern is the existing landowner who may want to develop property but hasn’t been able.

“All of a sudden he’s going to get blindsided by this,” Thomas said.

Baird noted the overlay changes would impact only a few properties within 2,000 feet of the lake that aren’t developed.

“There’s a lot of lakefront in York County that isn’t included in this,” Baird said.

Commissioner Bill Hargrove had concerns about open space requirements, ranging from 20 percent to 30 percent of what’s left of an area to be developed after the buffers are subtracted from a lot.

“It seems like those are pretty harsh increases,” Hargrove said.

York County Councilman Bruce Henderson said prior to Monday night’s meeting that his support of the overlay changes wouldn’t budge based on the planning commission recommendation. His opinion, and those of dozens of residents who have addressed Council at recent meetings, is growth in Lake Wylie needs curbing to protect water quality and help infrastructure catch up with residential growth.