Townhome plan near Tega Cay passes second reading, despite protest

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comFebruary 13, 2014 

— There’s opposition and support for a plan that could bring more townhomes near Tega Cay.

Last week York County Council voted unanimously to pass second reading on a rezoning at 930 Stone Village Drive allowing for triple the amount of townhomes compared to current zoning. That despite unanimous opposition from nearby homeowners.

“It is signed by 45 individuals,” Councilman Michael Johnson said of a petition against the rezoning, “which is everyone in the neighborhood that this could affect.”

Corrine Marsilio is president of the neighboring homeowner association, where she says residents were prepared for the 31 additional townhomes allowed, but not 102. The 16-year-old main entrance to the Villages at Palmetto neighborhood already is showing “a lot of wear and tear,” she told Council.

“We are a very small complex – 46 units,” Marsilio said. “We have one road in. It’s a narrow, two-lane road.”

Each resident signing the petition is “adamantly opposed to 102 town houses going, literally, on our backyard,” she said. Marsilio worries the higher number of units will create ‘mini Highway 160’ in our neighborhood.”

Homeowner Bill Halbruner told Council he recently left his home and turned left onto Hwy. 160 during rush hour. It took him four minutes to get into the middle lane, he said, and another minute to enter the flow of traffic.

“It took me another three-and-a-half minutes just to get down the street 700 yards,” Halbruner said.

He’s concerned traffic from the additional townhomes will hurt property values or endanger residents by clogging roads for public service vehicles.

Johnson, despite passing the second of three needed readings with the rest of Council, is concerned with traffic, too. At first reading on the rezoning, Johnson said “more than any zoning I’ve looked at the past year” he had concerns with Villages at Palmetto, mainly traffic.

“That does not mean that this will get approval, at least a vote from me, on third reading,” Johnson said at last week’s vote.

The councilman met with Tega Cay City Manager Charlie Funderburk and Councilman Ron Kirby in Tega Cay, along with Essex Homes representatives on the project. A private road is of concern, and the property comes up against almost 75 acres of goat farm and vacant land being developed by M/I Homes.

During a county rezoning last year, plans for the M/I Homes project showed a connection to the private road that would be affected by Villages at Palmetto.

“The problem is, the goat farm is now in Tega Cay,” Johnson said. “The county, obviously, has no leverage to tell Tega Cay ‘you must allow a developer there to let this road go through.’”

Tega Cay annexed the M/I Homes property late last month.

Johnson said the idea of passing second reading is to allow more time to meet with the developer, Tega Cay officials and homeowners. Keith Rains, project engineer for Villages at Palmetto, told Council the requested zoning is one the property had previously, prior to being rezoned as a planned development.

John Marks•  803-547-2353

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