If developers don’t want to build mobile home parks, then why do they keep bringing it up?
For developers, it’s perspective. For county leaders, it’s a problem.
“It’s been several instances in my district where developers have attempted to use this threat of a mobile home park in order to increase the number of lots that are available inside a particular area,” said York County Councilwoman Christi Cox, who represents parts of Fort Mill and Rock Hill.
“That, to me, is problematic.”
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Developers are increasingly taking their cases to the public asking for more homes. Councilwoman Allison Love, who represents Lake Wylie and Clover, said perhaps developers have “caught wind that I’m not really open” to more large building projects because they are meeting directly with residents.
Being able to tell county planners that neighboring property owners are on board with a project can be positive for developers looking for a rezoning.
Love points to a January meeting hosted by the owner of almost 180 acres on S.C. 274. The site allows for 89 homes. MT Land and Bonterra Builders want rezoning for 178 homes. The reason, they told residents last month, is they couldn’t add water, sewer and other infrastructure and get their return on investment with just 89 homes.
Options include building 89 homes in the $1 million or more price range, which the developer said doesn’t fit the market, or putting 178 homes in the $500,000 and up range. Developer presenters told residents the only way to have just 89 homes on the property is to put them on well and septic systems, which would mean neighbors would be looking at mobile homes.
Those developers also said the county’s comprehensive and future land use plans allows for a high-end density threshold of 890 residential units.
“The developer has shown this to the people who are there and they said either you like what we’ve presented tonight, which is 189 homes — 100 more than they’re allowed to put without a rezoning — or the county’s going to allow 890 units,” Love said. “Or, we’re either going to a trailer park, or we’re going to have 890 units. And the reality is, we’re going to have (89) if we’re going to have anything.”
Comprehensive and land use plans are documents used to guide county land use decisions, but it’s the zoning process that actually determines limits. Still, Love said those future plans need to be addressed.
“I’m just going to tell you, this is not it for my district,” she said. “We’re at a critical point.”
Love said it may take the final three years she has on her council term, but she wants to go through the district and look at what future plans envision. She doesn’t “want to have to worry” what the 2035 plan allows. She’d like to see it in line with current growth management goals.
“This scares me, and I want to move a little faster,” Love said. “I think it’s important that we start.”
As for mobile home parks, Love and Cox say they don’t want to see it used as a means of getting something else developers want. Cox said she has lived in a mobile home and doesn’t have a problem with them by themselves.
“The problem is, do we allow this to be used as a threat to nearby residents that there’s going to be an entire mobile home park if you don’t acquiesce to what we want?” she said. “We’ve got to figure out how to stop that.”
While some council members serve high-growth areas and others don’t, Love said it’s important to all parts of the county that decisions are made based on facts. Plus, she said, if growth isn’t happening in one area it may well be on the way.
“When we push them out of Lake Wylie, they head to Clover,” Love said. “And that’s exactly what they’ve done in the last two months. It’s a problem.”