With development on S.C. 160 between Interstate 77 and Gold Hill Road booming, some residents fear it is becoming too commercial.
Two county officials, however, said that's not the case, saying S.C. 160 is not the next Cherry Road.
Cherry Road in Rock Hill is one of the city's prime commercial corridors with shopping centers and small retail development built right up to the street. Some have poorly designed parking lot entrances leading to traffic problems.
County officials say the lessons learned on Cherry Road are being applied to new development on the S.C.160 corridor. Different development standards are leading to higher quality projects, said York County Planning Manager Steve Allen.
Allison Wilhelm, a freelance sales and marketing professional who lives in Baxter Village, said she worries development is not being controlled.
"It seems to me if they're not proactive they are going to get a road they're going to regret in 10 years," she said.
"You have to think ahead," she said. "If we're not careful, we're going to look like Pineville, look like Cherry Road."
Area residents do not want S.C. 160 to be just strip malls, traffic lights and bad intersections, she said.
"What's the plan for this?" she said.
The comprehensive plan recommends a mix of residential and commercial development along the corridor.
Along S.C. 160, Allen said the development, which is approved by the county, is arranged at existing major intersections: the West Town Market shopping center with the Harris Teeter at the Pleasant Road intersection and the Tega Cay Village shopping center with the Food Lion at the Gold Hill Road intersection.
The biggest site in between those two, the Graystone Commons shopping center with Walmart is out of the county's control. The shopping center is within Tega Cay's boundaries.
Not all the development along the corridor is supermarkets and restaurants.
The Springland Corp. owns 200 acres, largely wooded on both sides of S.C. 160. The company asked to rezone 6 acres of a 56-acre tract to build a business-office park. The land is behind the South Carolina Bank and Trust building across from another office park.
Springland wants to rezone the land to from RUD or rural-residential zoning to BD2, a business zone.
County Council heard that request July 19.
Riding the commercial hub
On the northern side of S.C. 160. Lowe's has opened, but a companion shopping center with room for as many as 17 tenants sits empty. Farther down S.C. 160 are two strip malls, one anchored by a Coldwell Banker's office with two other in-use storefronts. The other development has a PostNet, Jumpin' Java, Papa John's Pizza and three other businesses.
That's 26 commercial spots within a fifth of a mile on the northern side of the highway. They can all be accessed at one traffic light, but that entrance to the Lowe's shopping center is an example of poor planning, Wilhelm said.
It's difficult for people to get out, she said.
"It's poorly planned and is only going to get worse," if a proposed hotel is built and the retail space is occupied. When a flea market opened last year, the traffic backup extended to the I-77 interchange.
The proliferation of similar businesses worries some people.
Two drugstores, CVS Walgreens, are across from each other on Pleasant Road. Harris Teeter has a pharmacy. That's three pharmacies within a tenth of a mile of each other.
The Goodyear store sells tires and does car repairs. Just west in the recently restarted Fairfield Commons development, a Firestone Complete Auto Care store is under construction, according to the signs at the work site.
There are four food supermarkets within three miles of each other west of I-77 - Lowe's Foods, Food Lion, Harris Teeter and Super Walmart.
PDQ, a chicken restaurant, is under construction within a stone's throw of the standalone Taco Bell at the Walmart shopping center.
York County Councilman Paul Lindemann, whose district includes the S.C. 160 corridor, said development is not out of control. The standards in place now are higher than in the past, he said. The county's development ordinance requires new construction in an established area must be compatible with the existing character of that area.
"It has to be done with great taste and follow architectural guidelines, building elevation rules," he said.
Lindemann said the three projects underway on S.C. 160 show the rules work, citing the PDQ, which he said is a "higher-end chicken" restaurant, the office park by South Carolina Bank and Trust which is slated for doctors' offices, and the mixed-use development planned around the Firestone store. He said there plans are for a multistory office building and some higher-end condominiums at the back.
"If you look at those and the renderings they have done of how they will look, they are going above and beyond what developers typically do," he said.