Rezoning decisions make way for new Fort Mill homes

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comNovember 15, 2013 

— Town Council gave first reading to a rezoning for 200 homes on almost 75 acres, but members said they’d like to see a little more in writing before casting a final vote.

Council gave first reading to two ordinances last week. One would rezone the land where Doby’s Bridge Park sits from general industrial to general residential to match nearby properties, though the park won’t be impacted. The other would rezone almost 75 acres on Whites Road.

The property at the north end of Whites Road is owned by Clearview Development, but it’s under contract to Trinity Capital Advisors. The rezoning would put the property under the town’s highest density zoning, but the roughly 200 single family home plan would bring the project in under the building density recommended in the town’s comprehensive plan. About one-third of the property is a power line easement and can’t be developed.

Town Council and the town’s planning commission brought up concerns that town houses could be placed on the property with the new zoning, despite the developer stating they have “no intent of doing townhomes,” said Joe Cronin, town planning director.

Council members said they’d like to see a development agreement capping residential units at 200. Developers told the planning commission they’d be willing to sign one. Council also wanted to see if there were options for the “unusable” land, perhaps for recreation space.

“That was discussed,” Cronin said of athletic fields. “It’s not in the plans right now.”

The power line easement means construction can’t take place, meaning no concession stands or similar work if fields went there. The property also would be accessible only through the planned residential area. Councilman Tom Spratt said he’d still like to see more information on what’s possible, and what the developer might agree to do.

“Nothing is inaccessible,” he said. “I’d hate to lose out on it just because we didn’t plan ahead.”

A traffic impact study will be needed in addition to the development agreement asked for by council members. The property is near the Waterside on the Catawba project approved by council members earlier this year. Waterside is approved for 1,300 residences, though Cronin said preliminary sketches show a lower number being planned.

“Their plan right now is under 1,050 (homes and townhomes),” he said.

The zoning sought on Whites Road is a new town designation that, despite allowing for greater density development, has been used several times in recent months. It calls for 35-foot buffers and increased green space, something council members see as positives.

“You get the buffer and you get the 20 percent green space,” Adams said.

At last week’s meeting council also annexed a former private residence along Doby’s Bridge Road for use as a fire substation. The town purchased the property on Oct. 15. It’s adjacent to Doby’s Bridge Park. Because the town owned the property already, the annexation took place in a single resolution vote rather than the two needed for new ordinances.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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