Fort Mill Times

Commercial projects move forward in Fort Mill

A medical building and assisted living facility received initial approval from Fort Mill Town Council.

If finalized, the projects would add more than 40 acres and new commercial tax revenue within town limits.

The council passed the first of two readings needed to annex more than 28 acres at Tom Hall Street and Fort Mill Parkway, and to enter a development agreement with Carolinas HealthCare System for almost 39 total acres there.

The council made the same move July 11 for 13 acres on Haire Road for the Haire Village project and to adopt development conditions for the project.

Both new projects would come in with a commercial tax rate. Neither would add homes with young children, a concern with other types of residential construction as the Fort Mill School District looks to serve a growing community.

“Neither one of them will have the children in the school district, and we will have more medical facilities close by without people having to drive to Rock Hill or Pineville or Charlotte,” said Councilwoman Trudie Heemsoth.

Heemsoth said she was pleased to hear commercial plans. Commercial growth comes with a higher tax rate than owner-occupied residential, which helps offset the costs of providing public services to homeowners.

Councilman Larry Huntley agreed, saying the assisted living site could provide a service but won’t add to rush hour traffic on local roads, according to traffic projections.

“It really was almost nothing,” he said.

The medical building site has a small ravine through the middle of it, yet plans are to develop with the existing topography rather than clear-cutting and leveling the site. Huntley said he is more likely to support that type of plan, which he is seeing more lately.

“A lot of the land will not be able to be used, and that’s something that I like about some of these newer projects like the Spratt property,” Huntley said. “They’re trying to more or less follow the lay of the land. They’re using the land like God made it.”

Developers previously announced plans for both the medical site and assisted living community. Carolinas HealthCare wants a multistory building, likely three stories, to offset parts of the property they aren’t able to develop. Specific uses or practices haven’t been announced.

The site currently has a county-run trash and recycling collection center, which will close with the property sale to Carolinas HealthCare. Along with the medical building, an outparcel building is expected. The company asked the town to allow up to a 50-foot building but expects it would be about 40 to 45 feet tall.

The assisted living site would have up to 200 age-restricted units and between 10,000 and 36,000 square feet of retail or office space. A speech and occupation therapist office is expected. Assisted living will include up to 46 memory care units.

The project is part of a larger, 46-acre plan which likely will include apartments. The developer hasn’t applied for those yet.

Contract awarded

Also at the July 11 meeting, the council moved forward on two items related to wastewater treatment. One was to approve a wastewater plant improvement contract of $8.1 million. The other was an engineering design for increasing wastewater treatment capacity to 6 million gallons per day.

Doubling the town’s wastewater capacity is a major step in planning for community growth.

“That’s one of the reasons with the Spratt property we had it include a 20-year build-out, so we could kind of keep up with our water and sewer needs,” Huntley said.