Residents invited to comment on Waterside project Monday

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJune 7, 2013 

— Developers with Waterside on the Catawba, which could bring 1,000 more homes to Fort Mill, have heard from town planners and council members. Now residents get their chance to be heard.

Fort Mill Town Council will hold a public hearing Monday night on the project. They’ll likely give a thumbs up or down to first reading on annexation requests. As of press time Monday an agenda for the full Council meeting wasn’t available.

Joe Cronin, assistant town manager and planning director, said the Waterside project would be included.

“The request includes four separate ordinances, all of which will be included on the agenda as part of the public hearing,” Cronin said.

Waterside would be on 470 acres off Doby’s Bridge Road between Whites Road and the Catawba River.

Last month, Council saw two annexation ordinances but deferred them to Monday’s meeting with plans to take up all of the needed requests at once. Kevin Granelli with Lennar Homes gave a presentation anyway. The full allotment of homes would be built in about eight years.

They would cost from the low $200s to the $400s, he told Council. Just more than five acres for public use could include ball fields. Pending approval, Granelli said Lennar would be “building, selling and opening new homes” by 2014.

Traffic and impact to local infrastructure, like school enrollment, came up as concerns by Council in that discussion. Council would need to pass two readings per ordinance to annex the property for Waterside.

Tom Spratt said Monday that in the weeks since the May meeting, he’s heard a few similar concerns to those brought by Council.

“I’ve had a couple of people talk to me about the traffic,” he said. “They’re concerned about all those cars being dumped onto Banks Street.”

Because the developer heard that concern in May, Spratt said he looks forward to seeing what’s been addressed.

“There’s a lot of unknown variables at this point,” he said. “Traffic is one thing that we’re very cognizant about.”

Councilman Larry Huntley said the comments he’s gotten around town are similar to those with other proposed housing developments.

“I’ve probably gotten three or four,” Huntley said. “They always say the same thing. We don’t want more houses.”

Huntley said it’s important to remember that Monday’s decision isn’t whether Lennar is allowed to build the homes.

“That’s not what we’re discussing here,” he said. “We’re discussing whether we want them in the town or not.”

Still, the annexation piece is important for the project. Much of the property to be used has a zoning that allows less than half the density of what’s proposed. One option would be to try and rezone the property through the county.

The other is annexation into town limits, which requires the town to set a zoning designation. If annexed into Fort Mill per the current request, the full number of homes would be allowed.

Monday’s Council meeting, which includes the public hearing, is set for 7 p.m. at Council Chambers inside Town Hall on Confederate Street.

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