In York Co., the only constant is change

Growth is coming, and York County wants to have a say on where it goes and what it looks like.

The county is amending its land-use plan -- designed to last until 2025 -- in an effort to help blend growth with existing development, to limit commercial sprawl and to correct oversights in the original plan, officials say.

Changes to the plan will preserve mixed-use districts on Gold Hill Road, Hands Mill Road and in Lake Wylie, where officials want homes surrounded by commercial development that people can walk to.

"It's revising areas that have seen significant change," said Tobe Holmes, long-range planner for the county. "So as they change, they can complement surrounding land uses."

The proposed amendments have been initially approved by the York County Council and would be the first changes to the plan since it was adopted in late 2004.

A public hearing and final vote on these changes could occur in the next month. Information about the amendments can be found at the York County Planning and Development Services office on Heckle Boulevard.

Here's a brief look at the changes:

Mount Gallant Road between Celanese and Cherry roads

Mount Gallant Road is expected to see more traffic after "Pennies for Progress" road improvements widen it to three lanes.

The proposed changes would allow for more smaller commercial uses in a prominently residential area, Holmes said. The addition of stand-alone neighborhood businesses would help the area evolve with surrounding neighborhoods.

Five Points: S.C. 49, S.C. 274 and S.C. 55

Three amendments proposed for this area change residential districts to commercial on the main corridor, according to the amendment presented to the council in January. The change would place goods and services a short walking distance from neighborhoods.

The Lake Wylie area is expected to see significant growth because of its proximity to North Carolina, Holmes said.

Gold Hill at Pleasant Road

The county wants to put higher-density residential near the center of this district, where it is zoned for light industrial. Industry could be placed more to the south, to an area now zoned for single-family houses, Holmes said.

This change could mitigate some traffic and visual side-effects of industrial development.

Celanese Road at Handsmill Road

Two amendments in this area call for residential on the north side of S.C. 161 and east of S.C. 274 and commercial on the south side to the west of Celanese. The area is mostly classified as urban development now.

These changes would be made to properly zone undeveloped land before intense development occurs, the amendment states.

JW Wilson Road

Reclassifying the area to a lesser density would prohibit a large company from buying houses in the diverse area and building a large factory, Holmes said.

Officials say the current land-use plan incorrectly calls for industrial development in the area, which is currently rural. Originally, JW Wilson Road was zoned industrial because of development nearby on Banks Road and U.S. 21. But the area has no access to those roads and consists of smaller parcels and single-family homes.

Existing property will be grandfathered in unless the property owner wants a change, Holmes said.

Growth forces leaders to amend long-term strategy