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York County considers road strategy for curbing growth

In ongoing dialogue about the pace of growth in York County, another option surfaced last week.

“I’m very concerned about us accepting more roads,” said York County Councilman Joe Cox.

Cox and Councilman Bruce Henderson voted against bringing four roads, totaling less than a mile in the Palm Tree Cove subdivision along the Allison Creek peninsula, under county control. Five council members deciding in favor of the move cited past agreements during the platting process.

“We need to change the promise if we’re going to change the procedure,” said Councilman Chad Williams, one of Fort Mill’s three representatives.

But several members said the issue is worth looking at and deciding whether the county wants to keep bringing roads into its system while money run short on maintaining what’s already there.

“Right now I’ve got people screaming at me about roads,” Henderson said. “And the rest of these folks up here as well. And I just feel like, I don’t want to keep throwing salt into a wound.”

If the county doesn’t accept roads from subdivisions, maintenance costs could fall on developers or homeowners associations when the time comes for repaving. One impact, Williams said, would be a little more hesitance for developing new neighborhoods.

“If we don’t want to accept them anymore, we need to start doing it at preliminary plat,” he said. “Talk about stopping development, you can probably do that. That would probably stop development better than a moratorium.”

In recent weeks the idea of moratorium has come up in several places throughout the county. Fort Mill’s planning commission discussed it, as have leaders in the Tega Cay area. Bonum Road residents in Lake Wylie flooded multiple Council meetings calling for it, and Henderson even called an impromptu vote for one on S.C. 49 that failed.

Opinions on the latest option vary. Cox “wholeheartedly” disagrees with bringing in more roads at a half million dollars or more to pave, while Councilman William “Bump” Roddey said HOA fees for road maintenance won’t fly.

“I certainly don’t want to start asking homeowners associations to collect fees to keep road maintenance in subdivisions,” he said.

Most members said last week that the idea is worth a discussion.

“If this Council has the will to change the rules, then we should have a workshop as a Council,” said Councilman Michael Johnson, another Fort Mill representative. “We should sit down and we should change those rules.”

What the majority of Council made clear is they won’t stop adding roads they already agreed to through platting thus far.

“I’m not for changing the rules in the middle of the game,” Williams said.

Better communication

In his comments, Johnson addressed a growing need for municipalities to do more in letting each other know what is happening. A letter from Fort Mill to its school board, passed on to the county, was the first Johnson heard of the more than 900-unit plan for Pleasant and Vista roads. Fort Mill Town Council approved the plan Monday morning.

“No one at the county was called,” Johnson said. “Certainly no one in Tega Cay was ever called. This decision was just made.”

Johnson said Fort Mill shouldn’t be singled out, but that Tega Cay and the county also have contributed to an “almost a non-existent relationship” in shared planning. Which makes road and other infrastructure decisions difficult.

“This is why we have to communicate,” he said.

Johnson hopes to meet with the involved municipalities in September to foster ways of sharing information and, perhaps, planning together.

“If we’re not a part of their long-range planning and they’re not a part of ours, if we don’t have our staffs working together, there is absolutely no reason to sit up here twice a month and try to figure out what’s going on,” he said.

His solution?

“Create a plan, enforce the plan, let people have input in it,” Johnson said.

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