The decision to allow a business park plan bordering a Lake Wylie neighborhood has been delayed.
York County Council voted Tuesday to defer third and final reading on a rezoning for almost 5 acres at 4581 Charlotte Highway. Council members wanted to give the landowner and neighbors more time to settle their differences.
“I’m struggling with this in a major, major way,” said Councilman Bruce Henderson. “Danged if I do and danged if I don’t. But I do believe there’s a little more communication that could be considered.”
Both parties addressed Council Aug. 6. Property owner Russell Davey said he and neighbors have agreed on about 90 percent of the issues residents had with the proposed commercial development near some homes in the River Hills Plantation gated community. A few issues remain.
Councilwoman Christi Cox said “it’s always better to have something you agree to,” rather than having Council decide.
Councilman Chad Williams wasn’t in favor of deferring, with both parties having met multiple times.
“It sounds like they’ve discussed all they can discuss, and they’re asking for us to decide,” he said. “Deferral without direction is not good at this point.”
Chairman Britt Blackwell agreed, but said Henderson knows the area and had enough support to delay the decision.
“Next meeting,” Blackwell said, “we need to make a decision.”
Davey has operated his business Pak-Tec Inc., an industrial distributor, for 30 years in Heritage Park. It also backs up to the neighborhood. He sees the need for more office space in Lake Wylie. He’d like to use his residential land to build a small business center.
“It just doesn’t exist,” Davey said. “There’s no facilities, almost none, in Lake Wylie for small businesses.”
He wants to relocate and expand his business, while offer about 15 office spaces.
“We need more of that in Lake Wylie,” Davey said. “I’ve outgrown where I’m at. I need a new facility.”
Davey says a petition signed by River Hills residents “was a little misleading” when it stated the new facility could have manufacturing, printing and related environmental impacts, since the zoning he wants “doesn’t allow any of that.” He agreed to take a number of uses – apartments, funeral homes, hotels, grocery stores and others – out of what the new zoning would allow.
“This is reasonable,” Davey said. “This is not what we’re all about.”
While residents point to homes on multiple sides of the property, Davey points to business development between his property and the main highway.
“I’m a continuation of a business environment,” he said.
Residents agreed negotiation has been productive, just not productive enough.
“None of them are the issues that mean the most to us,” said resident Pete Goodson. “The project doesn’t fit. It is not an appropriate project for this unique parcel.”
Goodson said the property is 600 feet from the main highway, but comes up against residential properties.
“We wouldn’t be here opposing this if this project was a continuation of existing development,” he said.
Resident Scott Clinton said the plan “frightens” his family in terms of lost property value and security. Both sides entered negotiations in good faith, he said.
“He did not agree with what I consider to be key issues,” Clinton said.
Those issues include a building height restriction residents want reduced from the allowed 50 feet, a full 50-foot undisturbed buffer, down from the original 75-foot request and limits on business deliveries between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Resident Leah Youngblood said even a building cap at 40-foot would make a difference.
“These additional (agreements) are very important to our quality of life,” she said.
Karen Summers, general manager at River Hills, said her community isn’t against the development. But a few sticking points would impact residents.
“The 50-foot buffer is very, very important to us,” she said. “It’s not that big.”
Davey says he can do a 30-foot buffer within a 50-foot building setback, which both exceed county requirements.
Councilman Robert Winkler, who made the motion to defer, said he “would have some concerns the residents do.”
“If we vote on it tonight, I can’t support it,” he said.
Councilman William “Bump” Roddey pointed to another Council decision where a proposed 50-foot high building – the maximum allowed in county zoning code except in areas designated on its comprehensive land use map – caused concern on 180 acres. Maxing out the building height so much closer to homes in this case gave him pause.
Goodson said residents would be fine with a building the size of Lake Wylie Business Centre on Latitude Lane, which is about half as tall as the 50-foot mark.
“If the 50-foot roof is a sticking point for the developer, I probably won’t support it,” Roddey said.
John Marks: 803-831-8166