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Public hearing possible

LAKE WYLIE -- Changes to the planned development along S.C. 274 in Lake Wylie could soon lead to a public hearing.

York County Council last week unanimously approved second reading of two ordinances, one to amend the September 2008 planned development agreement with property owner Crescent Resources and the other to change the planned development zoning for a piece of property in the project.

"There's still some things being worked out," said councilman Tom Smith, who represents District 2 including Lake Wylie.

The plan was announced last year for the 2,000-acre mixed-use development along S.C. 49 between Crowders Creek and Big Allison Creek. Planners promised low-density development near the lake, mixing commercial and residential properties and land leftover for future schools and recreation facilities.

"This is a long time coming," Smith said last week. "It's a great thing to have as far as something that's a joint effort between the school district and the county, as far as recreation, schools and all that good stuff."

Dr. Marc Sosne, superintendent for Clover School District, said negotiations to buy the property are ongoing, but wouldn't elaborate until "the agreement with the seller is finalized."

"We're excited about it. It should be just a couple more weeks," he said. "We hope that we can work out the last few details to make the sale go through, and we're real pleased with the cooperation we've had from Tom Smith. This has been a real great joint effort that Tom has been working hard on our behalf to make happen."

Susan Britt, county planning and development director, said last week her staff will send its preliminary review of the planned development back to Crescent for adjustments, which means a third reading is likely.

Crescent filing for bankruptcy?

The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday that one of the key players in the planned development, Crescent, "could file for bankruptcy" with a decision possible within 90 days.

According to the Observer, Duke, which owns the company in a joint venture with Morgan Stanley Real Estate, said as part of its first-quarter earnings last week, it took $33 million in charges for Crescent debt it has guaranteed. Duke created Crescent in 1969 to manage its surplus land.

"We're working with the banks, and our preference is to restructure the debt," Duke chief financial officer David Hauser said.

Crescent acknowledged, according to the Observer, it owes a $50 million debt payment by the end of 2009.

Yet Smith said Crescent's future should not impact the planned-development project.

"Crescent was going to sell the land anyhow," Smith said. "I never thought in all this that Crescent would be building the roads."

Plus, Smith said, the planned development is a zoning agreement, which stays with the land regardless of owner.

"Any time you do a development agreement, that runs with the property," he said. "It effects those who are actually going to develop the property."

Britt said the details for the third public hearing were to be publicized Monday night following the county planning commission meeting after Lake Wylie Pilot press time. Visit yorkcountygov.com for more information.

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