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‘Mini-Baxter’ plans continue on Crowders Creek

A delay on the Lake Wylie overlay district is good news for a housing and retail development planned along Crowders Creek.

Walton South Carolina is developing property on the north side of Crowders Creek with plans to be similar to Baxter Village in Fort Mill but on a smaller scale. Project plans include 350 homes, 100 multi-family units and 58 townhomes, along with 88,000 square feet of commercial space.

“At this point, we are still in the planning stages,” said company spokesman Rick Abbruzzese. “The plans would also include green space and parks and a number of community amenities.”

Abbruzzese said the additional building restrictions, which were put off last week by Council, could have dealt a blow to the project. Council had a final reading scheduled for an overlay plan to restrict residential construction on properties in the Lake Wylie area, but instead put off a decision until possibly June.

“Had that overlay gone into effect, it would’ve impacted that property and impacted it rather significantly,” Abbruzzese said. “You’re looking at that likely resulting in a $5 million (loss).”

That loss is based on removing the commercial piece of the project, more than 10 years of tax income. The Walton property wouldn’t have had more than 188 lots on 220 acres with the overlay, which would have cut straight through its center. Commercial, multifamily and townhome uses wouldn’t have been included.

Paul Beidel, president of Walton’s Southeast region, told Council in October that 137 acres of the project would be impacted by the overlay change. Beidel repeatedly compared the project to Baxter, both in design features and economic impact. The project includes more than 40 acres of open space and a town center.

“It’s very similar to what you’d have now in Baxter Village,” Beidel said. “This is just a mini version.”

Rivers Stilwell, representing Walton, asked Council at its Nov. 17 meeting for a timeline for the overlay decision.

“We have, in the next several weeks, a $700,000 decision to make on this property,” Stilwell said.

The developer presented its plan to planning commission staff in June, finding out only at second reading on the overlay change how it might impact the project. The property is zoned for residential use and will be submitted as a planned development, meaning the county planning commission and staff will have a say in open space, total number of units and other details.

“It can be addressed in detail there,” Stilwell said.