‘We don’t want it:’ Traffic tops concerns for 180-acre development plan near Charlotte

Residents attended a public informational meeting Wednesday about a 180-acre subdivision proposal across the intersection of S.C. 274 and Pole Branch Road in Lake Wylie.
Residents attended a public informational meeting Wednesday about a 180-acre subdivision proposal across the intersection of S.C. 274 and Pole Branch Road in Lake Wylie.

The current and contracted owners of a prime piece of Lake Wylie real estate say if neighbors want nicer homes beside them, both groups are going to have to meet in the middle.

Residents say the homes aren’t the issue. More than 60 community members came out to hear plans or express concern Wednesday during an information meeting at Bethel Volunteer Fire Department Station 1.

“My biggest concern is traffic at the entrance to our road,” said Scott Davis, part of an extended family along Harper Davis Road. “We don’t want it.”

Neighbor Bryan Hartman agrees.

“I’m happy with the half-million dollar homes,” he said. “It’s that entrance that we’re concerned about.”

Bailey Patrick, managing partner with MPV Properties out of Charlotte, in 2004 purchased almost 180 acres across along S.C. 274, across from Pole Branch Road. According to York County tax records, the market value of the property is $3.52 million.

The current plan is to build 178 homes, priced $500,000 and up. MT Land is under contract to develop with Bonterra Builders constructing. That plan still needs a York County rezoning.

The rezoning process hasn’t been kind to the project thus far. Initially the owner asked, but then pulled a plan, for a rezoning allowing up to 534 homes or townhomes. Three years ago, another rezoning asked for up to 356 homes. It was denied.

The current and potential owners met several times with county planners last year to see what plan could get a favorable review. The latest, 178-home development likely would have contingencies for when work could start based on road improvements on S.C. 274 and Pole Branch.

Patrick told residents at Wednesday’s two-hour drop-in meeting the project hasn’t been what he had hoped for financially, but he wants to make the best decision for the site. Typically, residential property near employment and shopping areas — this one near Mill Creek Commons — “has been consistent” with higher density projects.

“It has been inconsistent with what the community and the surrounding area wants to see,” Patrick said of the Lake Wylie site.

Current zoning allows up to 89 residential units, anything from manufactured homes to farms. Putting 89 high-dollar homes on the site is a problem, given the investment developers would have to make in public water and sewer, and related costs.

“The developer would (have to) make them million dollar homes,” said Paul Shriver, land acquisition and sales manager for MT Land. “There’s no market here for million dollar homes.”

Developers said between manufactured and million dollar homes there is a better answer for proposed Vista at Lake Wylie community. The latest plan is a home an acre, with a $750,000 to $1 million amenity center to include a pool and clubhouse.

“This is going to be a very beautiful community at still a reasonable price,” Shriver said. “We’re trying to provide the best solution.”

The road improvements are coming as part of the county’s Pennies for Progress campaign, a voter-approved one-cent sales tax used to fund roadwork.

“We’re not just going to put up 178 homes tomorrow,” Shriver said.

More than $400,000 is budgeted for a new entry into the community.

There will be two entrances — one off S.C. 274 and another onto Harper Davis Road. The latter drew more concern at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We’re the only farm in Lake Wylie,” Davis said. “And we’ve got subdivisions all beside us.”

His father, Glenn, came out to the meeting “to make sure the houses are not going to be stacked up on top of each other. To many in the room Wednesday, the decision on what happens to the property is personal.

“I live on the very end of Harper Davis Road,” Glenn Davis said. “We’ve always had a farm down there. We’re just more or less concerned about the buffer zones, the road. Are they going to pave it, are they not?”

Hartman also takes issue with “one more truck coming down the road in the condition it’s in,” not to mention the northbound traffic out of the new subdivision. He expects residents on Harper Davis to see all of it.

“If anyone has to go to Belmont, Gastonia, that area, they are going to go this way,” Hartman said. “I guarantee it. Because you make a left off of our road, and you’re right where you need to be. Instead of coming out here, winding through here, stopping at the light, making a left.”

Resident Julie Ferraro, who works in real estate, agreed traffic is a concern.

“It’s already bad, which you guys didn’t create, but it’s only going to get worse,” she told developers.

Yet Ferraro looked at the other options. The possible 89 manufactured homes, or the county comprehensive plan pointed to by landowners with maximum density allowance at 431 residences on the property. Given those options, the 178 higher-priced homes doesn’t seem bad.

“This is more appealing to me than any of the others,” she said.