Fort Mill development may build fewer homes than planned

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJune 24, 2014 

— The number of new residences at Doby’s Bridge and Kimbrell roads isn’t set, but it could come in lower than the 150 sought initially.

On May 27, Fort Mill’s Planning Commission discussed an application to annex three parcels of almost 29 acres at the intersection. The commission heard plans to develop 150 townhomes there, but the zoning sought with annexation could allow significantly more. The commission voted to recommend the request, but at no more than 100 units.

The Town Council has final say on the annexation. The issue hasn’t yet come to the council for either of the two needed readings or public hearing.

Kent Olson with Development Solutions Group, which is behind the project, said townhouses or patio homes with low maintenance fit a need on the property, he said.

“Our research has determined that there is demand for, and a need for, quality homes that feature a low-maintenance lifestyle in that area,” Olson said two weeks after the Planning Commission decision. “We are considering a community aimed at empty-nesters that will most likely be smaller, single-family lots.”

The site is “close to downtown Fort Mill where a higher density makes sense, and the comprehensive planning lists the site for up to five units per acre,” Olson said. Olson’s company hopes for “a good compromise” at about four units per acre.

“The Doby’s Bridge area has many developments that feature large lots catering to families with children,” Olson said. “We feel there is no need for more of the same at this location.”

Town Planning Director Joe Cronin told the Planning Commission the annexation would be consistent with comprehensive planning if tied to a development agreement limited to three-to-five units per acre, or 86 to 143 units. The 100-unit limit recommended 4-3 by the Planning Commission would allow 3.5 units per acre.

The commission expressed concerns that the initial proposal wouldn’t fit neighboring communities like Kimbrell Crossing, Savannah Place, Ardrey Acres and Kanawha Court. The traffic impact on Doby’s Bridge Road was another concern.

Commissioners also noted that the comprehensive plan calls for more diversity in housing, including townhouses and senior living.

Olson’s group says the communities unique feel when compared with existing neighborhoods nearby is a positive for the plan, in that it fits a need that currently isn’t met.

“We feel strongly that this is a development that is needed and would be an asset to the town,” Olson said. “A model of smart development, featuring less sprawl and catering to a maturing population that desires a quality, low maintenance lifestyle.”

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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