Fort Mill annexes 280 acres, up to 650 homes on the Catawba River

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comFebruary 25, 2014 

— Fort Mill grew by a little more than 280 acres Monday morning.

On those acres will be up to 650 new residential addresses.

Town Council approved annexation of a Crescent Communities property at 1999 Suttonview Road. Council also approved a concept plan for the property, though some details still need to be worked out for a full development plan.

“We’re working on that now, as we speak,” Town Manager Dennis Pieper told Council, just prior to the decision.

The property sits between Suttonview Road and the Catawba River. Council still has some concerns on the project despite unanimous approval — Councilwoman Guynn Savage wasn’t present Monday — at both readings. One is how utility lines will be placed.

The developer will pay for needed water and sewer lines in the area, but is talking with the town on possible reimbursement for part of it. One idea discussed is for part of the impact fee charged by the town to go to Crescent for its connecting water and sewer to neighboring properties.

That idea hasn’t gained traction with Councilman Tom Adams.

“We’ve always said growth pays for growth,” he said. “I don’t think the town should incur any costs with those utilities.”

Pieper said it is the developer rather than the town “rolling the dice” by annexing prior to working out the details. The town still will review the final development plan.

Councilman Tom Spratt said he was “a little hesitant” about how an almost mile-long, on-site trail following the Catawba River would be maintained. He’s also heard from residents that traffic on Sutton and Suttonview roads concerns them.

Initially, construction and residential traffic will use Suttonview, though Crescent will have to put in a second entrance about halfway through build-out. The cost of putting the road in sooner requires too much capital, according to the developer.

“The cost of construction doesn’t minimize the impact on that intersection,” Spratt said.

Adams said residents have been used to living near a dead end road for “generations,” and “now we’re looking at putting dump trucks” into the traffic flow. Adams said concerns common to similar projects, including school impact, should be considered.

James Martin, vice president with the company, told Council the primary entrance to the area will come from the adjacent Kanawha tract where more commercial development is planned. Crescent has that property under contract for purchase.

Martin also said the town wasn’t written into the concept plan for having to maintain any trail, but wording was put in that would allow the town to take control of it should it want to tie into Rock Hill’s Riverwalk or otherwise promote its public use. The trail will have two public parking areas and will be part of the Carolina Thread Trail.

“We wanted to write it in that the town could do that, but they’re under no obligation,” Martin said.

Bypass development

Also on Monday, Council finalized its overlay district for the Fort Mill Southern Bypass. The overlay sets design standards for properties within 500 feet of the road’s right-of-way.

There was concern at past discussions on the overlay for properties that have little or no bypass frontage but would still be subject. Al Steele asked that a property he co-owns be removed, but doing so would have removed perhaps a dozen similar properties including some at key intersections that were much of the reason for creating the overlay.

“We were still trying to find out how to deal with that one issue of properties that didn’t front the actual bypass corridor,” said Joe Cronin, town planning director.

The agreement now is to leave Steele’s property and others like it in, but set a “plainly worded” set of standards for getting a waiver to have individual properties removed, Cronin said.

“I’m very pleased with staff’s effort to work with us,” Steele said Monday.

Cronin said the requirements for a waiver won’t undermine the intent of the overlay.

“We think it’s narrow enough where it’s not going to negatively impact the ordinance,” he said of changes.

John Marks•  803-547-2353

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