550-home subdivision along Hwy. 160 in the pipeline

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comMay 12, 2013 

— York County Council gave initial approval last week to a development that would bring close to 550 new residences along Hwy. 160, though there’s still work to be done on the plan.

Standard Pacific Homes wants to put 220 single family homes and up to 330 multi-family units on 151 acres off of Hwy. 160, opposite Dave Gibson Boulevard. Council passed the first of three needed readings on a rezoning to allow it at its May 6 meeting.

But there are concerns. Sherry Allen and Barbara Ostrander, both residents of Tara Plantation, told Council the impact to local traffic has to be considered.

“I think that’s a concern of many of us in that area,” Ostrander said.

Allen also has a meeting planned with Standard Pacific and Councilman Michael Johnson (R-District 1) to discuss buffering and other issues with the project. The traffic is her main concern. Allen said Hwy. 160 had more cars atop it each day in 2011 than it was designed to handle, and the load only has grown.

This project would bring traffic “to really troubling levels,” she said.

“It takes a significant amount of time to get a short distance,” Allen said.

Council also had concerns, but none that seemed poised to fell the project. Chairman Britt Blackwell saw commercial on the east end of the project, and wondered if some could be added on the west end, too.

“I think it’s a very nice subdivision,” he said. “I’m just trying to think about ways we can enhance commercial growth since residential is such an imbalance right now.”

Councilman Bruce Henderson had a similar concern.

“There needs to be as much commercial area in there as possible to offset, because we can’t just totally be a bedroom community for Charlotte,” he said. “We’ve got to start thinking differently.”

Johnson said there’s already work being planned or considered by the Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study at the I-77/Hwy. 160 interchange and from Hwy. 160 to Coltharp Road.

“It’s nowhere near ready to be done,” Johnson said, “but it’s the first step on a potential road to lead you down Coltharp and over to Hwy. 21, which would alleviate a good bit of traffic.”

Johnson said issues to be resolved are being discussed.

“I really feel this is going to be a quality development,” he said.

Bob Bennett, director of land acquisition for Standard Pacific, told Council there’s already been a traffic study hired out and sent to the state Department of Transportation.

“There will be some required improvements,” he said.

Bennett also described plans for five or six acres of retail and an amenity area with a pool, playground and clubhouse. Open space is up 6 or 7 percent compared to what’s required, and buffers are at least 50 feet which also exceeds what’s mandated.

“Our desire is to preserve the green and trees where we can,” Bennett told Council. “There will also be walking trails in the community and natural areas. These will connect public space to public space.”

Homes will be at three price points, in the mid-$300s, $400s and $500s. With add-ons the higher end models will “probably push closer to $600,000.” There also will be prohibited uses on the retail side.

“We want high-end retail elements at the site,” Bennett said.

As for requests like adding more commercial, the developer wasn’t committing to anything.

“Our desire as a homebuilder is to do residential,” Bennett said.

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