Lake Wylie could soon welcome 842 new homes in a 432-acre development off Daimler Boulevard, between S.C. 49 and 274, south of Five Points.
However, some York County planning commissioners are concerned about road and infrastructure capacity.
The planning commission voted earlier this month to defer a vote that would allow Development Solutions Group to begin work on a project that’s been on hold for nearly a decade.
The residential project, named Westport, was originally approved for more than 2,000 acres and allowed up to 1,700 units, including apartments. It was the property where York County envisioned Daimler and other companies would bring as many as 3,000 jobs.
South Carolina gave Daimler Trucks a $2 million grant in 2008 to buy land for an office building in the hopes of landing the company.
However, much of the land in the area has been undeveloped ever since Daimler decided to expand its current headquarters in Portland, Ore., rather than move to South Carolina.
York County approved a legallybinding development contract for the land in 2008, said York County Planning Director Audra Miller. Miller said the planning commission will make the final decision on the plan. If the commission votes to approve it, the developer can move ahead with construction plans, she said.
The property is owned by Crescent Resources, but was later contracted out to DSG, according to DSG owner and developer Kent Olson. The planning development, he said, allows up to five units per acre with a minimum of 2.5 units per acre. Olson said he had to petition the county to build fewer homes.
Olson has planned to significantly lower the impact to less than half of the original proposal. Also, Olson plans to go strictly single-family. The new Westport plat is measured at 432.82 acres with 842 single-family lots scheduled to be completed by 2024, according to the planning commission.
“We’re being extremely sensitive to the needs of the community,” said Olson, himself a Lake Wylie resident. “We’re being sensitive to the concerns of traffic, overpopulation, and gone out of our way to lower the density.”
The property is currently zoned for mixed-use development, including residential, commercial, civic, and industrial.
York County councilwoman Allison Love said she knows the proposed subdivision would have a significant impact on Lake Wylie, but said she is happy with the steps Olson took to lessen the blow.
Love said she supports the developer’s attempt to decrease the density of the property. More than 95 acres of open space, including a picnic shelter. There also will be more than a mile of walking trail, which could become part of the Carolina Thread Trail.
Homes likely will price from the low $200,000 to high $300,000.
Five of the nine planning commission members initally raised concerns that the plan would become too much of a burden on roads in the area, and supported the idea of rejecting the plan.
Planning commission chair Walter Heinsohn argued if a development complies with the originally-approved development agreement, the county is obligated to approve it.
“If a property is zoned for subdivisions and a developer comes along with a subdivision plan that meets all the county requirements, we have no choice,” Heinsohn said. “He’s complied with the law all the way down the line. We have to approve it.”
The commission voted to defer the issue for further discussion at its next regularly-scheduled meeting June 12.
If a property is zoned for subdivisions and a developer comes along with a subdivision plan that meets all the county requirements... we have no choice.
Walter Heinsohn, York County Planning Commission Chair
Miller said the commission would listen to more information on traffic impacts and mitigation measures.
Jamie Henrickson, a planning commission member, said that would put the county in a “tough position.” The community would be “all residential with no business,” which she said is a large tax drain and a bad impact on roads.
A traffic impact and access study, or TIA, finalized in January details how the roads around Westport would be affected during a two-phase build-out. Phase 1, which would be completed by 2021, adds 570 new units, with the next phase adding 272 extra units by 2024.
The TIA assigns level-of-service designations to roads depending on their strength based on grade levels A through F. LOS A represents the best driving conditions, while LOS F represents the worst.
Last measured in August, all of the intersections operate between an A and a C, according to the TIA. However, certain intersections could drop to D or F ratings, depending on the usage or time of day.
7 Under Phase 2 conditions, seven of the study area intersections degrade to LOS E or F during one or more of the peak hours studied in the TIA
The TIA projects by the end of Phase 2, the level of service for S.C. 274 at Allison Creek Road and Campbell Road, and Charlotte Highway at West Liberty Hill Road/Mountain View Road and North Site Access would all drop to an F level of service during peak evening hours.
Under Phase 2 conditions, seven of the study area intersections degrade to LOS E or F during one or more of the peak hours studied.
Three intersections, including Charlotte Highway at S.C. 274, S.C. 274 at Campbell Road, and Charlotte Highway at North Site Access, are expected to exhibit delays greater than a minute and are impacted by the addition of site traffic, the TIA states.
“I share the concerns of some of the planning commission,” Love said. “I fully support that they have concerns, and they should be able to voice those concerns.”
Several mitigation efforts would be funded and constructed by the developer, according to TIA. That would include widening Charlotte Highway to provide left-turn lanes in both northbound and southbound directions.
1 minute Three key intersections are expected to exhibit delays greater than a minute, according to TIA
There also are plans, as approved in the prior planning development, for the developer to create a new roadway between Charlotte Highway and S.C. 274 to provide a two-lane divided cross-section.