It’s an unusual road, in that the people closest to it don’t want it. They’ll get it anyway.
The York County Planning Commission voted 5-4 to require a connector road as part of the Cypress Point subdivision. It will connect Bonum and Robinwood roads. Builder D.R. Horton and almost three dozen residents signing their names to a petition asked the commission to reverse a planning department decision requiring the road.
“The planning commission vote will have a negative impact on these long-time neighbors and the simple road they travel daily,” said York County Councilwoman Allison Love.
Development Solutions Group submitted a plan to subdivide the property back in May of 2015, to create Cypress Point. D.R. Horton later purchased the property. As part of that subdividing, a traffic impact analysis was done. It analyzed the impact of Cypress Point and the Lake Crest development, along with Bonum and S.C. 49.
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The west side of Bonum ends in front of a home, with an unpaved road accessing three more homes. When D.R. Horton took the deed on the property last year, it showed the road being a public right-of-way connecting to what would become Robinwood Lane. County planners and South Carolina Department of Transportation staff agreed since the intersection of Robinwood and S.C. 49 has a traffic signal, a connector should be in place to help traffic and improve public safety.
After plats were approved with the connector in July of 2015, Bonum residents began to question the proposed connection. They offered concerns their road would become a cut-through. D.R. Horton representatives said they were fine building or not building the road, and applied to have the county reconsider the staff decision only at the request of neighbors.
Love said planners shouldn’t have to approve roads that don’t make sense in certain areas just because ordinances are written to promote road connections. Plus, she said, the traffic analysis didn’t show the connector will help traffic flow.
“The planning staff recommendation made prior to hearing from residents and the developer is concerning,” Love said. “The traffic study indicates the connection from Bonum to Robinwood makes no difference one way or the other. However, one way would have made a difference to 40-plus residents.”
Paul Link could be impacted most. His home was built in 1989, at 9.9 feet from the right-of-way. He purchased the home in 2000 and remodeled it in 2014. The home remains less than 10 feet from the right-of-way.
“The connector will have no positive impact on the safety issue,” Link said. “It will only increase traffic through the neighborhood which is where our kids play. That is as unsafe as a circumstance as I can imagine and simply makes no sense.”
The county and builder have had discussions about changing the route of the connector some, to where the Link home would be about 25 feet from the right-of-way.
County staff stood by the decision to require the road. Cypress Point and Lake Crest will add a combined 545 homes, and planners have to consider Bonum Road residents’ concerns but also “all potentially affected parties and their safety,” according to the staff recommendation. It also mentions drivers who may try to pull into the median and merge if they can’t come out to a signalized intersection.
“This traffic movement is very dangerous, and it all likelihood an accident, potentially fatal, will eventually occur,” reads the recommendation.
Residents asked about signalizing the Bonum Road intersection instead, but it likely won’t ever reach a usage the state would need to see for putting a light there.
There is a road, Englewood Drive, that already connects Bonum and Robinwood but isn’t “intended to be the main thoroughfare” for traffic outside the subdivision. County staff also argues the developer is responsible for the connection, where not requiring it now would mean the county would have to pay for a connection if it were needed later.