Neighbors, having for years argued against new development in their quiet corner of Lake Wylie, are saying thanks but no thanks to a new access road.
They may get it anyway.
Cypress Pointe is under construction off Bonum Road. D.R. Horton is building a new home, pool and clubhouse subdivision on a long road that opens to S.C. 49 on one side and dead ends on the other. Part of the plan involves extending Bonum from its dead end to nearby Robinwood Road and providing an access road.
Several residents asked York County Council on Jan. 17 to let the builder nix the road plan. Both builder and developer are fine with the idea. But county planning requires the additional connectivity, something listed in building codes to promote traffic flow and emergency response service.
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“It’s very much at the forefront of developments today,” said Lake Wylie resident and property developer Kent Olson with Development Solutions Group. “So I can respect planning’s concerns and the ability to make sure that we have as much connectivity, vehicular flow, as good as they possibly can. I respect that.”
But, he said, this site isn’t typical.
“We’ve provided the ability for emergency services and for the traffic to flow in a good manner, both to Robinwood near the CVS as well as to the other direction heading east onto Bonum Road,” Olson said.
“A lot of thought was put into it. A lot of engineering was put in to make sure that those residents would not all be dumped out onto Bonum.”
The road wasn’t an agenda item for Council, so the group didn’t make a decision. They did get plenty of reasons why residents aren’t interested in a new road, even if it improves access options.
“The people that live down there live down there for a reason,” said resident Paul Link. “We bought property down there because of the privacy and the security and the safety of our kids that you get from living two miles down in a no-outlet community.”
Link showed a picture of a stake in his yard where the new road would go. It’s as close to his home as his car in the driveway just to the side. Thomas O’Neal, who bought on Bonum Road in 2004, has a similar concern.
“The new connector will be approximately 15 feet away from the edge of my drive,” he said. “My concern is drainage and water flow into the middle of my property.”
O’Neal referenced recent flooding issues in the Autumn Cove neighborhood, which he would like to avoid. The new road would be about four feet higher than the private one residents have been maintaining on their own for years. There is one 18-inch pipe for drainage for the new subdivision, O’Neal said, which already will lead straight to his yard.
Resident Ellen Goff said she knew what she and her late husband were buying into when they came to the area 16 years ago. She also knows school buses, fire and EMS services use the road as it is without issue.
“My husband and I wanted to be at the end of the road,” Goff said. “There’s less traffic, and those who do drive to the end of Bonum Road turn around in front of my driveway. So I have a pretty good idea of who’s out there. And usually they’re lost.”
While incoming residents would have the most direct access to S.C. 49 without traveling the length of Bonum, existing residents are concerned more people — residents and non-residents — would create a traffic loop.
“They have no real reason for turning onto Bonum Road to exit their development to reach 49,” Goff said.
With roads an expensive part of land development, it isn’t surprising both developer and builder support the residents’ request to leave out the connection and access road. But, said Dave Hughes with D.R. Horton, they will comply with regulations if need be.
“We do believe we have adequate connectivity to serve our community,” Hughes said. “It doesn’t impact the development one way or the other, but we respect what the residents (say) and support their position.”
Development along and near Bonum Road has been an issue for several years now. Residents have taken to York County Council many times arguing against high-density residential development saying it harms the lake and over exerts public infrastructure.
Over the past couple of years, development projects there spurred calls for a building moratorium and construction overlay and concerns a developer could be building over historic grave sites. Both candidates last year for York County Council were area residents running at least in part due to development concerns there.
Link said the new roads, called for by a traffic impact study with the new development, won’t help. He and others won’t argue with traffic being an issue. They just don’t want to see new problems because of it.
“It is terrible, but it’s really a result of just unprecedented development that’s been rubber stamped in our community that we’ve been here to talk to you guys about before,” Link said.