Fort Mill stormwater utility fee gets initial nod

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJune 18, 2014 

— Homeowners likely could pay $72 per year more than they do now in Fort Mill, with the fee funding a variety of mandated stormwater upgrades.

Fort Mill Town Council approved the first reading on a new stormwater fee on June 9. Second and final reading is scheduled for June 23. Council also finalized the creation of a new stormwater utility at the June 9 meeting, which the annual fee would fund.

In January, the town came under a new state stormwater permit that required additional water testing, stream monitoring, inspections, maintenance and more. Permits span five years. Prior requirements weren’t as extensive, and town staff could meet them using general fund allocations.

The $72 more per year for single-family homes come from town staff’s best estimates of what it would take to fund the stormwater utility in compliance with state rules.

“Our anticipation, our desire, is that $72 won’t change for that five-year period,” said Paul Mitchell, town engineering director.

The fee isn’t just for homeowners, however.

“It’s every developed parcel in the Town of Fort Mill,” Mitchell said. “It’s single-family residential, businesses, commercial – everything.”

Everything but single-family homes would have fees calculated per 3,473 square feet. An apartment building or business twice that square footage would have twice the $72 amount.

“It’s the amount of impervious surfaces,” Mitchell said. “Paved, rooftop or whatever.”

A credit policy would allow lessened fees for projects or improvements that demonstrate stormwater upgrades. The number of people who receive such credits, say for installing rain barrels or similar features, could change the annual fee for everyone, though it isn’t likely to change significantly.

The $72 stormwater fee fits between those in neighboring municipalities. Rock Hill charges almost $45, according to Fort Mill staff. Tega Cay charges $96.

Council also voted June 9 to annex 47 acres at Springfield Parkway and U.S. 21 Bypass and adopt a mixed use plan for the property. Both decisions still require second readings. Documents indicate second reading will come July 14.

Rutledge Realty is behind the plan that would include 235 townhomes and between 50,000 and 175,000 square feet of commercial space.

Council finalized an annexation June 9 that will allow for a bed and breakfast in town. The Barber family wants to turn a former home place at 599 Smythe Road into a bed and breakfast this fall. The 1952 building formerly sat where the Circle K is now, at Sutton Road and U.S. 21 Bypass. The site will be called The Belle Crane Inn and service small events like weddings and civic club meetings.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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