FORT MILL — Council members didn’t seem enthused as they unanimously passed initial readings to bring more homes into Fort Mill. But they liked the alternative far less.
Fort Mill Town Council gave first reading to two annexation requests Monday, one for almost 46 acres at 2021 Hwy. 21 Bypass and the other for more than 33 acres at 1568 Harris Road. Together, the properties would add up to 178 homes.
Council members expressed concern with approving more residential growth. One resident questioned whether Council wanted such growth to “be your legacy.” Questions about traffic safety arose.
“We know that our roads are too crowded,” Councilman Tom Adams, said. “Our schools are too crowded.”
The Fort Mill School District even sent matching letters to the town citing “significantly strained” infrastructure needs from residential growth. Yet, Council members say, there are reasons why annexing the new developments might be the best decision.
“The current opportunity to build is significantly larger,” Councilwoman Guynn Savage said of the almost 46 acres, located between Captain Steve’s seafood restaurant and York Electric Cooperative. “In some cases, inaction is worse.”
That property is approved by the county, a representative from developer The Pulte Group said, for 425 townhomes or apartment units. Pending annexation, the subdivision known as Springfield Meadows would feature 80 to 85 lots. The result would be a “huge reduction on the impact to the schools,” he said.
Mayor Danny Funderburk said developments can come in with or without town approval, and impact schools, roads and fire service regardless whether they have town addresses. Annexation is an opportunity to bring in revenue from the developments, and to have some say so in what goes there.
“They’re going to happen anyway,” Funderburk said. “It’s not necessarily in the best interests of the town not to act.”
Bob Wiggins, a Baxter resident and M/I Homes vice president, said the 33 acres between Harris and Sutton roads will include 93 lots. Townhomes are allowed, but aren’t planned.
“They will all be single-family homes,” Wiggins said. “We have no intention to build and sell townhomes on this site.”
Homes will be 2,200 to more than 3,000 square feet. They’ll start in the $240s.
An entrance to the property across from Suttonview Road won’t, despite a resident concern expressed at the meeting, cause traffic problems and M/I Homes will be responsible for any road or utility improvements needed there, Wiggins said.
“I do not feel that this would create a dangerous intersection by any means,” he said.
The two annexations are the first to come to Council asking for the R5 zoning created earlier this year. That zoning allows for single-family homes or townhomes, with minimum lot sizes of 5,000 square feet for homes and 1,500 square feet for townhomes. A minimum open space requirement of 20 percent is included, as are 35-foot buffers along project buffers.