York County Council delays action on Lake Wylie overlay district

The York County Council on Monday night voted to delay any action on the Lake Wylie overlay district for 30 days after nearly four hours of discussion from county residents on both sides of the issue.

Many residents at Monday’s public hearing spoke in support of the overlay district, arguing that development on the lake threatens their quality of life.

The overlay previously received approval from the County Council on the first and second of the three scheduled readings needed to pass.

Monday’s vote by the council follows a vote the week prior by the county planning commission against the overlay district.

The proposed overlay 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. The overlay changes would restrict all residential development within 2,000 feet of the lake along Lake Wylie’s busiest thoroughfare to single-family residences. The overlay would increase lot sizes to at least an acre and increase buffer and open space.

Some expressed concern Monday night about the future health of the lake if development is not slowed.

Sheila Link said the cove behind her home on Lake Wylie had been damaged by sediment runoff from an apartment development on the other side of the lake – damage for which she said the developer had never been held responsible.

The people who have since moved into the development, she said, “have been responsible for vandalism, drug use and “unmentionable behavior” in the wooded area nearby.

“I do worry about the safety of my children,” Link said.

Economic development

But developers who spoke Monday were quick to defend new growth in the area.

“We are the not the bad-guy developer she was just talking about,” said Rivers Stillwell with the Walton Co. “This is a responsible mixed-use development.”

The multilot development planned by Walton would have a major economic impact, Stillwell said, and was specifically chosen because the area was zoned for mixed development that would fit the plan like “the piece of a jigsaw puzzle.”

But Stillwell urged the council to act quickly, because if the overlay were deferred, “we are dead in the water.”

Councilman William “Bump” Roddey said the prospect that planned developments would be disrupted by the overlay led him to second Councilman Joe Cox’s motion to defeat the change.

“I don’t want that on my shoulders,” Roddey said. “I told Bruce (Henderson, the councilman for the Lake Wylie area), I would follow his lead, but we need to address those issues.”

Henderson, a supporter of the overlay, said he felt his constituents’ concerns about overdevelopment were being unfairly dismissed and feared more growth would threaten Lake Wylie as a source of drinking water for the county.

“We’re talking about no more or less than destroying the lake,” Henderson said. He said future generations would be dismayed at the inaction.