Nation Ford Land Trust undecided on town’s offer

joverman@fortmilltimes.comAugust 27, 2013 


— The Nation Ford Land Trust is still considering the Town of Fort Mill’s offer to purchase 29 acres of property currently held by the local preservation group, according to board members.

Members of the Land Trust board met last week, but “no action was taken on that issue,” said board member Steve Hamilton, a Tega Cay resident.

Board chairman Murray White said the board has determined the value of the property but wouldn’t divulge the figures, saying it is “privileged information.” There weren’t enough board members present for a quorum at the meeting, he added.

White said that regardless of whether the Land Trust decides to sell the property to the town or keep it in the trust, it will remain protected as green space.

“This property, if you check the records, is deed restricted. So if it’s sold, those restrictions are still in place,” White said.

White emphasized that the Land Trust protects land, but does not necessarily choose to buy and hold land. Land can be protected without owning it, he said, through conservation easements and deed restrictions.

The Nation Ford Land Trust was founded in 1989. It protects more than 9,200 acres of green space in York County with the goal of preserving natural areas and conserving the natural heritage of the county, according to the group’s website.

“Ninety-nine percent of what we do is ensure property is protected and it can be protected in a number of different ways,” White said. “In fact, we would rather not own land if we had a choice, and the reason for that is that it creates liability for us because then we have to worry about things any property owner worries about. Making sure security is in place, and people trespassing and damaging property.”

The 29-acre property in the Land Trust under discussion is contiguous with a 151-acre development near Tega Cay which, when complete, will include 550 homes. The development is currently in the unincorporated township area of York County. If the Town of Fort Mill purchases the Land Trust property, it would make the 550-home development contiguous with the town and could also be annexed into town limits with landowner approval.

The City of Tega Cay also has been eyeing that development for annexation. On July 15 the city annexed the Comporium Communications building at 2382 Hwy. 160 West into city limits, making the 550-home development contiguous with the city. City officials have planned to meet with the developer of the 550-home development to discuss annexation as soon as the builder has closed on the property, something they expect to happen this month.

“It is property we are actively keeping an eye on, something that is of value to the city, but we have not had conversations with anyone yet,” Tega Cay City Manager Charlie Funderburk said.

“I think the next couple of weeks will be very exciting.”

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