Politics & Government

Moratorium up for vote in Fort Mill, not Lake Wylie

York County Council is scheduled to consider a first vote on April 18 for a moratorium on residential construction. A separate decision involves an overlay in Lake Wylie, South Carolina.
York County Council is scheduled to consider a first vote on April 18 for a moratorium on residential construction. A separate decision involves an overlay in Lake Wylie, South Carolina. Tracy Kimball

A much-discussed housing moratorium for unincorporated Fort Mill is in writing, but Lake Wylie isn’t included.

York County Council scheduled a first vote Monday for a housing freeze impacting only the Fort Mill Township, which includes areas north of the Catawba River up to the North Carolina border and the county line with Indian Land. Areas within Fort Mill and Tega Cay municipal limits won’t be impacted.

When County Councilman Michael Johnson initially proposed the idea in February, the measure would have imposed a freeze on the “Fort Mill and Bethel townships,” encompassing both sides of Lake Wylie.

A separate item on the Monday agenda revives discussion of the Lake Wylie overlay district. The long-simmering proposal was initially proposed in 2014 to contain growth in the lakeside community but was ultimately dropped because of fears of legal challenges by developers.

Here’s how the two decisions could impact their respective areas:

Fort Mill Township

An ordinance up for a vote Monday would prohibit the county from considering any new residential rezonings in six separate zoning classifications or from accepting any new preliminary plats or site plans for single- or multi-family housing.

The ordinance would be in force from the date of final passage, which could come as soon as May 16, through the end of 2016.

The proposal cites the high rate of growth in the county in justifying the ordinance. The county reviewed 1,855 residential building plans in 2014 and another 2,534 in 2015. The county received six separate apartment plans last year, and seven the year before that – compared to three in 2013 and one in 2012.

“(T)he county’s residents are experiencing longer delays in traffic, the Level of Service (LOS) for transportation infrastructure is being impacted, and the county is experiencing difficulty in maintaining an acceptable LOS for roads and intersections,” the ordinance says.

York County will use the housing pause to finalize its updated comprehensive plan, identify roads and intersections with an “unacceptable” level of service, and “ensure growth and improvements to road infrastructure are concurrent.”

Ongoing residential projects won’t be stopped, including phased projects where at least one plat or site plan already has been submitted.

Lake Wylie

In a separate portion of Monday’s council meeting, members will discuss extending the Lake Wylie overlay district and limit density and construction within it. No vote will be taken at the meeting, though the council may “provide direction to staff” on possible ordinance revisions.

Council will discuss several options, from limiting development to 25 percent of a zoning district’s land area to capping construction at 35 homes annually. The council could create conditional zoning that would limit multi-level or multi-family structures, including hotels, to at least a mile from any part of the Lake Wylie shoreline.

The expansion would extend the overlay, now just the S.C. 49 corridor between Three Points and Buster Boyd Bridge, out to Riddle Mill, Kingsbury, South Paraham and Campbell roads.

After dropping previous plans to expand the overlay in 2014, the county staff worked on incorporating Lake Wylie growth limits into a larger overhaul of zoning requirements in 2015, but that component was ultimately dropped from that proposal as well when the changes were adopted in November.

The concept was last raised at a November hearing by the county Planning Commission, when Planning Director Audra Miller proposed a “watershed overlay” that would cover much of the northwestern portion of the county. No action was taken on the proposal then.

Bristow Marchant: 803-329-4062, @BristowatHome