It’s said in real estate, it’s is all about location, location, location. The Vista at Lake Wylie may be the best proof yet.
What York County leaders say could be an ideal subdivision may never happen, because it’s proposed in the one place it’s not wanted.
“I have not supported this from day one,” said York County Councilwoman Allison Love, who represents Lake Wylie and Clover.
Developer MT Land and property owners of 178 acres off S.C. 274, near Mill Creek cove on Lake Wylie, have been trying for several years to get rezoning approval for more than the 89 homes currently allowed.
Plans went from 328 homes to 250, then to 178 before the latest proposal for 149 homes. Council debated the project for an hour May 6 only to put off a vote until May 20. If it passes then, there will be a public hearing. Love told Council it would be “the longest public hearing you have ever sat through.” Many residents have been vocal against the plan.
About that location
Property owners say Vista homes would hit the market at $600,000 or more. The plan would include $1 million to Blue Granite Water Co. and a new pump station to improve area water service. The 149 homes would generate $32 million more than with 89 lots, owners say. The project would bring $66,000 in traffic improvements and no access to nearby gravel road Harper-Davis Road.
“The developer really can’t do any more than what he’s done,” said Councilman Britt Blackwell.
Councilman Joel Hamilton represents urban areas of Fort Mill and Rock Hill.
“I would love if someone built this next to me,” Hamilton said. “Higher price points, fits with the (county comprehensive) plan. I’m really not sure what else you could want.”
The same is true in other districts.
“I would love this development to be in my district,” said Councilman William “Bump” Roddey, who represents Rock Hill. “I wish we had the land. I wish we had the plan. And we would welcome it to my district.”
Councilman Robert Winkler, who represents western York County, said, “I do believe this is a very nice development. Yeah, I’d love to have it in my area and I’ve got plenty of land for it. The problem is I don’t have the water and sewer infrastructure, at all, to be able to do it.”
The problem is location.
“It’s not a bad plan,” she said, turning to Roddey at the recent meeting. “And I wish they were putting it in your district, too. But they’re not.”
Love said thousands of homes and apartments are approved but not yet built in Lake Wylie that will strain roads, schools and public infrastructure. She points to 358 homes planned at Cypress Pointe, 123 more at Lake Crest, 449 at Meriway Pointe, 114 apartments at Lodges at Lake Wylie and the 3,700 homes required in the Westport planned development.
“For us to look at it as individual puzzle pieces and not as the total picture is a mistake,” Love said. “It’s a big mistake.”
Making the case
Hamilton said Love makes a convincing case against allowing it.
“It would be very difficult to shove this down anyone’s throat,” he said.
There’s also a 55-page, 3,749-signature petition asking Council not to approve rezoning for more homes.
While scores of residents have turned out in near-unanimous opposition to the plan several times in recent years, Roddey says he keeps hearing the same issue brought up — traffic.
“If we say no to this one, I don’t know when we’ll ever say yes to another plan because we’re always going to get the question of traffic,” Roddey said.
Water upgrades, high-dollar homes and other parts of the plan outweigh more cars on the road, he said.
“If we’re going to turn down any developments based off traffic, we can just put the brakes on every development in York County because traffic is an issue across the board,” Roddey said.
Chairman Michael Johnson said turning down a good subdivision plan for road, school and related concerns isn’t unprecedented. Council did it late last year with an M/I Homes project in Lake Wylie. That plan would have allowed 217 homes on 222 acres.
“I thought that was one of the best neighborhoods I’ve seen, period,” Johnson said. “Anywhere. Fort Mill, Tega Cay, Lake Wylie — anywhere.”
A former school board member in Fort Mill, Johnson said he knows housing decisions impact an area’s ability to educate.
“We don’t control schools. But what we do impacts schools,” he said. “And if you don’t believe that you can come to the Fort Mill school district and see that first-hand, how we’ve impacted their schools and how we’ve impacted taxes in that area.”
The idea that Vista would be well received throughout most of the county gives Blackwell pause in voting against it, especially when the property owners spent more than $100,000 in early project work.
“If Ms. Love wants to propose an overlay district over Lake Wylie that says no homes, no more new homes, no more new business, I’ll support it,” Blackwell said. “But if we’re going to go by these rules, we have to be fair.”
Councilwoman Christi Cox is interested to see if the project might change through the three public readings needed to approve it.
“I was contacted by the applicant who asked to be allowed to have the process, and who said that they are going to make substantial concessions that they want this council to hear,” Cox said. “If that doesn’t materialize and there are not substantial concessions, I will not vote for this.”
Love isn’t interested in further concessions if the plan is for more than the allowed 89 homes.
“The total impact of what’s happening in this district, and specifically in Lake Wylie, is detrimental to the quality of life of the people who live there,” she said.