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Should York County stop taking on new roads?

With York County already struggling to maintain existing roads, some County Council members are asking whether the county should stop accepting responsibility for new roads in subdivisions and other developments.

Two council members, Joe Cox of Sharon and Bruce Henderson of Clover, voted recently against bringing four roads – totaling less than a mile in length in the Palm Tree Cove subdivision along the Allison Creek peninsula – under county control. The five council members voting to accept the roads cited existing county agreements with developers.

“We need to change the promise if we’re going to change the procedure,” said Councilman Chad Williams, whose district includes parts of Fort Mill and Rock Hill.

Several members said the issue is worth looking into and deciding whether the county should keep bringing roads into its system while money runs short to maintain 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. That could make some developers think twice about building new neighborhoods, Williams said.

“If we don’t want to accept them anymore, we need to start doing it” when developers submit plans for county approval, 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 imposing a moratorium on building homes has come up in several places throughout the county. The Fort Mill Planning Commission has discussed it, as have leaders in the Tega Cay area. Bonum Road residents in Lake Wylie have crowded into multiple County Council meetings to call for a moratorium, and Henderson even called an impromptu vote for one on on development along S.C. 49. That vote failed.

Opinions on the latest option vary. Cox “wholeheartedly” disagrees with bringing in more roads, while Councilman William “Bump” Roddey, whose district includes much of southern Rock Hill, said homeowners association 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 County Council members said the idea is at least worth a discussion.

“If this council has the will to change the rules, then we should...sit down and we should change those rules,” said Councilman Michael Johnson, whose district includes Tega Cay and parts of Fort Mill.

What most council members made clear is that they won’t stop adding roads the county already has agreed to accept.

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