Fort Mill Times

County must accept Sun City roads

Sun City residents will be relieved to know their new roads will be allowed into the county roads system - provided they are built to county standards.

Residents were worried the Lancaster County Council wouldn't approve a measure accepting the roads. As it turns out, no vote is required.

Accepting the roads into the system is part of the development agreement between Pulte Homes and Lancaster County. Previously, County Administrator Steve Willis had said it was an issue for the council - which recently voted not to accept roads in the BridgeMill and Glen Laurel subdivisions - to decide.

"I went back and looked and [Sun City's development agreement] is the only one that is different," Willis said. "I'm assuming because it's the first. The other agreements say, 'only if council votes to accept them.'"

Prior to that finding, Sun City residents were concerned they might be left footing the bill for road maintenance.

The guardhouse at the entrance to Sun City will be allowed to remain in the median, Willis said. Because the guardhouse is in the median, the development agreement allows Sun City to keep it and maintain the building, Willis added. During the day, the guardhouse is staffed by a resident greeter who stops cars that do not have a decal identifying the driver as a Sun City resident. It also serves as an information center, according to Jon Hardy, Pulte division president.

In the evening, off-duty Lancaster County Sheriff's Department deputies man the guardhouse.

"That won't change even after Sun City's roads are accepted into the county road system," Hardy said.

"We intend to have either police or a security firm over time maintain vigilance over that guardhouse over night," Hardy said. "We don't think it would be an issue because it would be public roads. If someone has a reason to be there, they would be allowed, but if they are going in at 1 a.m. why would they need to go in?"

Public roads have to be open to the public, Willis said. The guardhouse would need to be only for information, he added.

Sun City resident Bruce Miller worries that the guardhouse will give the county a reason to refuse to accept Sun City roads into the county system, despite what the development agreement requires.

"It's a county road. You don't have the right to stop my car unless you're a county official and I'm breaking the laws," Miller said. "It's nobody's business where you are going if it's a county road."

Resident Jerry Burtcher runs a blog for Sun City residents that has more than 350 members and has been active for two years. The blog keeps him in touch with the community, Burtcher said, and residents' concerns about the roadways and other issues around Sun City.

"I feel certain that the county will accept the Sun City roads at some point. If not, then I believe that Pulte or the residents themselves will take legal issue with the county and the county council," Burtcher said.