Fort Mill Times

Controversial Lake Wylie business plan rezoning nixed

Property owner Russell Davey wanted to relocate and expand his 30-year-old company in Lake Wylie from its current location in Heritage Park to 4581 Charlotte Highway, currently zoned for residential use in York County.
Property owner Russell Davey wanted to relocate and expand his 30-year-old company in Lake Wylie from its current location in Heritage Park to 4581 Charlotte Highway, currently zoned for residential use in York County. Google maps

By the thinnest of margins, York County Council voted Sept. 19 to deny a rezoning that would have brought a new business complex between S.C. 49 and part of River Hills Plantation.

Council voted 4-3 against the rezoning after the property owner at 4581 Charlotte Highway and neighboring residents couldn’t come to a final agreement. Both groups made concessions in recent weeks as residents worried commercial development would be too high, too close and too intrusive to their homes.

The property will remain residential zoning.

“I hate it, but this is it,” said Councilman Bruce Henderson, who represents the Lake Wylie area. “It’s crunch time, and again I don’t know there’s concession as far as what we’ve asked for.”

Council had hoped the property owner and neighbors could reach a consensus. Unresolved issues include an undisturbed buffer to push the building away from homes, and a limit on when deliveries could be made to businesses within the development.

Council last month heard the property owner and neighbors had agreed on about 90 percent of the issues residents had with the proposed commercial development on 5 acres near some homes in the River Hills Plantation gated community. A few issues remained. Council deferred the third reading earlier this month to give the landowner and neighbors more time to settle their differences. Property owner Russell 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, and wanted to use his residential land to build a small business center. River Hills residents argued against the rezoning last month.

“We need more commercial and less residential, so if there was a way to support this I would have done it,” said Councilwoman Christi Cox, who sided with Henderson’s motion to deny third reading.

Cox said the agreement was close, but it “didn’t get over the goal line.”

“At the last minute it’s going to fail for some things that it shouldn’t have failed for, and that ultimately ends up not to be good for our community,” she said.

Henderson said the group “needed to move forward” after lengthy discussion in recent weeks on the property. He understands why Council members would be confused, given the push from Lake Wylie for more than a year asking for less residential and more commercial development.

Henderson said the property at hand, off of the main highway and surrounded by residential areas, had protections that needed to be in place before rezoning.

“If you lived near it, I think you’d feel different. If you were right there on it, I think it would be different,” Henderson said.

Council members Britt Blackwell, William “Bump” Roddey and Chad Williams favored the rezoning. Roddey said it was being held up for a “very minimal” disagreement.

“I would just hate to throw in the towel after the residents and the property owner worked diligently, bent over backward, made concessions from one end to the next,” he said.

Blackwell voted to against denying the rezoning in hopes another motion might follow, to approve it with conditions mandating the buffer and delivery hours. He saw that arrangement as the best fit for both parties, though it never came up for a vote.

“There was a lot of effort by the owner to be accommodating to the legitimate concerns of the neighbors, so I don’t doubt that at all,” Blackwell said before the final vote. “I think the restrictions that were agreed to are appropriate.”

John Marks: 803-831-8166

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