New homes by a new high school likely are on the way in Fort Mill.
Fort Mill Town Council gave initial approval Monday to a rezoning and development agreement for almost 45 acres on Fort Mill Parkway. The plan would add 75 homes. A second yes vote is needed. A second public hearing, and likely a vote, is Oct. 10.
Pace Development Group is behind the project, across from the third Fort Mill School District high school to be built near the parkway and Whites Road.
“Both properties will be using the same signalized traffic point,” said Joe Cronin, town planning manager.
The town comprehensive plan calls for higher density development at the site, allowing for up to 670 apartments that would bring an estimated 4,500 vehicle trips per day. Planners saw municipal service, school enrollment and other value in the smaller 75-home project. The agreement also comes with a 1.25-acre site across the from the high school where a new fire station could be built.
Town leaders have been back and forth for more than a year on fire service needs in that growing area of town. The town has land in the area, but the new option could be better.
“It’s about two times larger than the site we have today,” Cronin said.
Councilman James Shirey said the area, with the homes and school traffic along with potential commercial uses nearby, will become crowded – a reason to move toward medium rather than high density development.
“It’s going to be a very busy area,” Shirey said.
Mayor Guynn Savage said alignment – the state transportation department has final say on these issues – will be important once the school and homes are in place along the bypass.
“Those intersections are going to be very close together,” she said.
Fort Mill will grow by several hundred new residents within weeks. Oct. 10 is the final reading to add Huntington Place residents into the town, after residents there recently voted by a wide margin to have the town annex them.
Savage said the key for town and nearby residents is to understand Huntington Place chose annexation, as did the Sandy Pointe subdivision before them.
“We do not go out and aggressively annex,” she said.
Huntington place involves 211 properties on 49 acres, with 208 existing homes. All or part of four roads will come into the town maintenance system.
“The remainder are private and will remain private,” Cronin said.
A driving force behind the Sandy Pointe and Huntington Place decisions is water, with out-of-town rates double to in-town. Councilwoman Lisa McCarley said this adds to the town’s tax base.
“We’re already serving the community with fire and utilities,” she said.
Garbage cans for pick-up service have been ordered, and the full transition into town should come quickly pending the Oct. 10 decision.
“Within a couple of days, we’ll have all the utility rates changed over,” Cronin said.
Council also set its new $40 million budget, beginning Oct. 1, without a tax increase for the eighth year in a row.
The mayor and others commended town staff for keeping the tax rate constant despite a growing need for community services.
“Staff really works hard to do without, and to do the best for our community,” Savage said.