Developers say they listened to residents concerned about plans for 178 acres on S.C. 274, near Pole Branch Road. So did York County Council.
The council denied a rezoning June 1 that would have allowed 250 homes along Mill Creek. The decision came after a dozen residents spoke against the project.
“I’m very sympathetic toward all these concerns,” said Councilman Bruce Henderson.
The vote came at first reading, typically a time when even controversial decisions pass in favor of gathering information ahead of second and third reading. Councilman Chad Williams said the Lake Wylie plan, unlike others at the same meeting, was not something that could be addressed with building restrictions.
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“There’s no conditions or anything that could fix any of your objections,” he said.
Initially, a trio of developers proposed 328 homes near the Three Points intersection. County planning staff recommended denying the rezoning. The developers cut the number to 250 and proposed 100-foot lake buffers at twice the county requirement, seven retention ponds to reduce sediment runoff and more than 40 acres of open space.
“We are exceeding the minimum by a good bit,” said petitioner Stephen McCrae.
Planning staff reversed its stance following the changes. But residents pointed out the initial recommendation, showing Three Points already has more cars passing through it than the intersection can handle.
“Staff acknowledged in their notes, that intersection currently provides a level of service below acceptable standards,” said resident Eric Carpenter.
Carpenter lives in The Landing. He is concerned with 800 homes coming north of the state line at McLean, and believes more traffic will use his neighborhood to bypass a congested Three Points.
Dawn Tongson lives on Bonum Road. She, too, is concerned about the effect McLean will have. Tongson said more than a home per acre that can be built on is too much.
“That’s going to be a lot more traffic that’s coming straight through Lake Wylie that we’re going to have to compete with, because they don’t have another way to get to Charlotte directly,” she said.
Developers believe they proposed a strong development, based on community input. In recent public sessions with county planning staff, the idea of developable acres arose. Or how many homes should be allowed not based on a full tract, but on land that would support building.
“I think you’re right to start looking at net density, and I think that we are meeting an admirable goal in that regard,” McCrae said. “We think our rezoning plan could set a precedent.”
The plan had lakefront lots a minimum 140 by 80 feed. The 250 homes on 125 developable acres puts the project at low density thresholds, McCrae said. Bailey Patrick, managing partner of Patrick Family LLC, said his group purchased its part of the property more than a decade ago believing it would support 400-450 units, before submitting for 323.
“Clearly it was not low enough,” he said. “We heard that message, and we’ve responded with significant changes.”
Resident Jim Davis said his family has been on nearby land more than 50 years. His father had to give Davis and his brothers an acre each for them to build a home there. So he couldn’t understand allowing two homes per acre for the development.
“Are they better than we are?” Davis said. “Our taxes are paid here in York County, and we still live on a dirt road.”
Former Councilman Perry Johnston said there is a reason past rezonings of the property were denied, and asked for the same result this time.
“This is the third attempt at this,” he said. “When I was on Council we turned it down. When Tom Smith was on Council, they got turned down. It’s not the Council’s responsibility to assist the developer to make his numbers work.”
Johnston said the owners knew what was allowed when they bought the property and should be held to it. Resident concerns covered traffic, school impact, sedimentation and others.
“At some point,” said resident Mary Williams, “somebody’s got to look at the totality of what’s happening.”
John Marks • 803-831-8166