Land use surrounding the Fort Mill Southern Bypass is starting to shape. But it’ll also take time, and cooperation, officials said.
Last week, members of the advisory committee formed to study the bypass route offered a draft list of recommendations for what members would like to see once the road is complete. The idea is to create an overlay for land parcels within 500 feet of the right-of-way.
Existing properties wouldn’t be impacted. Most incoming projects would.
“It’s all new development that is non-residential,” said Meg Nealon with consultant LandDesign, “and it’s multi-family and to some extent it could be some single-family.”
The list isn’t final yet. It does include eight-foot sidewalks on both sides, buffering between buildings and the road as well as other buildings, bicycle parking, building height restrictions and a nix on flashing or LED signs. Generally, buildings would be closer to the road and each other at the ends and the bend in the middle, farther back on the straighter stretches. The bypass eventually will travel from the Fort Mill Parkway to Springfield Parkway, curving in the middle at the Doby’s Bridge and Holbrook roads intersection.
The committee has one more meeting before sending its recommendations to the town planning commission and then Town Council, likely in November. The overlay wouldn’t impact existing zoning but would hold incoming development “to a higher standard,” Nealon said. Assuming the development comes in certain places.
“It would be an overlay district that would only apply to those parcels in the town limits of Fort Mill,” said Joe Cronin, town planning director.
About half of the bypass route is unincorporated property. The committee is working with York County planners and would like to see any overlay adopted there, too. Town Councilman Tom Adams, who leads the committee, said there “could be a hodgepodge” of design standards if the county doesn’t adopt something similar. However, Cronin said, much of the county property contains large land tracts. There’s a “reasonable chance” developers would want to annex into Fort Mill for town services when developing them, thus adhering the parcels to the overlay.
Then there’s the matter of timing. Sidewalks, landscaping, lighting and other features called for in the overlay would be installed at the developers’ expense. So until development comes, neither will the amenities. Nealon said she’s confident in what they bypass route can become, but it won’t get there overnight.
“We want this to be a very walkable place,” she said. “A very safe place.”
The committee planned for the eventual bypass, not the one that will open in the next year or so. The final plan is for five lanes with bike lanes on either side. Currently funded is a two-lane road. The county Pennies for Progress program is funding current work. Another Pennies vote likely will be needed to expand the project later.
“We know when the bypass opens, it’s probably going to be over capacity,” Cronin said.
The Fort Mill Parkway to Doby’s Bridge/Holbrook stretch was to be completed by the end of the year, but a rainy summer now has project engineers looking at a spring completion. From Doby’s Bridge/Holbrook to Springfield Parkway will wrap up about a year later.
Despite lots of moving targets with landowners, municipal lines and the road itself, committee members are confident the intent of their work will be met.
“Once it reaches build-out,” Cronin said, “it’ll be something the town can be really proud of.”