FORT MILL TOWNSHIP — Legion Lake is going au naturel.
What once was a lake, then wasn’t, then sort of was again is now being converted into a stream off Hensley Road. The property is part of the Lakebridge subdivision being built there by D.R. Horton, which now won’t have its namesake feature.
“We are aware of the lake being drained,” said Dave Pettine, planning and development services director for York County. “It is part of work that has been required through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to re-establish a pre-existing stream channel that was there prior to the residential development.”
A Charlotte habitat enhancement subcontractor was out last week in the former lake bed, and will be for several more months. Eventually there will be a stream, walking trails and perhaps other features with hardwood forest plantings at the intersection of Legion Lake and Sportsman Lake roads.
“They’re doing a wonderful thing here for the environment,” one worker said.
Some home sites have been cleared already for Lakebridge. Silt fences are up throughout. The property includes three cul-de-sacs and backs up to homes in the Huntington Forest subdivision.
Historical maps show considerable change at the property. What’s been there in recent years, and what shows up in a Google map search, actually is a retention pond that’s about half or a third of the size of the original lake. The property started as a stream and was made into a lake, but when homes weren’t built it was restored to its natural state.
The retention pond “wasn’t supposed to have been here,” another worker last week said, but was put in place just prior to the recession when the property was being developed for residential use. That project never happened, but the retention pond stayed.
But because the property was naturalized – at least five years are needed – the stream became U.S. jurisdictional waters, meaning when the new residential project came in, the stream had to be restored.
The habitat restoration could take six months. New homes won’t be built in the lake/retention pond bed. The stream will run through the subdivision and behind already constructed homes on Makayla Court.
D.R. Horton did not respond to messages seeking comment.
According to county maps, the company owns almost 50 land parcels in the development off of Sportsman Lake and Legion Lake roads, and Lakebridge, Collin House and Bridgepoint drives.