Fort Mill Times

Another 178 Lake Wylie homes. A busy intersection. Will the project have to wait?

MT Land asked to rezone more than 178 acres at 457 Hwy. 274 near the intersection with Pole Branch Road in Lake Wylie.
MT Land asked to rezone more than 178 acres at 457 Hwy. 274 near the intersection with Pole Branch Road in Lake Wylie.

A developer wants to put 178 homes in Lake Wylie. But the homes may have to wait on the roads around them.

MT Land asked to rezone more than 178 acres at 457 Highway 274, near Pole Branch Road, to build the 178-home The Vista at Lake Wylie subdivision.

Although the development fits the land-use planning criteria, county staff is recommending the planning commission deny the request when it meets Aug. 14.

The reason is traffic. A required traffic analysis from the developer relies on two major road improvements that, while planned, have yet to happen.

One is a signal and road relocation of S.C. 274 and Pole Branch Road.

The other involves intersection changes at Three Points -- S.C. 557, S.C. 274 and S.C. 49.

County staff is confident the first road improvement “will be completed within a reasonable time-frame,” according to the recommendation. It was part of the 2003 and 2011 Pennies for Progress county campaign, a 1-cent sales tax for road projects approved by voters. The project has been designed and approved, and right-of-way is being acquired.

The second is part of the Pennies for Progress campaign up for referendum in November. The $7.3 million project has no other funding source.

“There are no guarantees the voters will approve Pennies 4 and without such improvements,” states the staff recommendation, “the development of the proposed residential subdivision will further degrade the level of service for this intersection.”

The staff recommendation guides the planning commission decision, which itself only guides the final vote on rezonings by York County Council. Developers whose projects get unfavorable recommendations sometimes pull or modify and resubmit them before Council ever gets a look.

Staff recommends, if the planning commission gives a favorable recommendation, the commission require a development agreement with the landowner. The developer and county could then negotiate agreement terms, such as requiring the developer to phase in building as the S.C. 274 and Pole Branch improvements are completed.

According to the traffic analysis, levels of serviceon nearby roads range from C to F. The S.C. 274 and Landing Point Drive access at Walmart gets a failing grade in both morning and afternoon traffic. The new development would create 1,695 trips outside the neighborhood.

As part of the subdivision, the developer would pay for an access at S.C. 274 and Pole Branch. An eastbound turn lane would be added into the Pennies plan, and another right and left turn lanes would be modified. Traffic signal changes would be involved. The developer also would pay for an access at Harper-Davis Road and $66,000 for traffic signal improvements.

York County Councilwoman Allison Love, who represents Dist. 2 including Clover and Lake Wylie, said she wouldn’t support high density development regardless of what a traffic study says, and that the coming Pennies work is in response to problems in the area.

“The Pennies project on 274 through Mill Creek and continuing to Pole Branch will give us the lanes we currently need,” she said. “Additional traffic would negate the improvement we have all been waiting on for so long.”

Love sees the reasoning in recommending denial for now.

“York County would be premature to recommend anything but denial prior to the traffic study results, so I agree with their recommendation at this time,” she said.