Developer Agrees to Traffic Study

BLYTHEWOOD – After months of wrangling with developer D.R. Horton over a proposed amendment to the zoning of Cobblestone Park where a majority of the members of the Town Council live, Council won out. It was announced at the meeting on Monday evening that the developer has agreed to Council’s final demand – to conduct a traffic impact study on the anticipated changes in traffic from Cobblestone Park onto Syrup Mill Road and any impact it might have on Blythewood Road.

This came after D.R. Horton gave in earlier this month to Council’s demands that the developer rescind its request for a small patch of R-4 zoning on which it had proposed to build five model homes and leave it as a green space. The developer also agreed to change the current Town Center (TC) zoning on a parcel near the gated entrance to Planned District Development (PDD) zoning which is consistent with the rest of the development. The TC zoning district allows multi-story units. D.R. Horton engineer Tom Margle confirmed, also, that a separation of 80 feet from back lot line to back lot line, that had been a concern of some property owners in the Primrose section, would be maintained.

At Monday night’s Council meeting, Margle said D.R. Horton would send a proposed scope of study for the traffic impact study to the S.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) early next week, and that the DOT would approve or suggest changes to that scope of study.

But just as mayor pro tem Bob Massa called for the vote on first reading on the proposed zoning amendment, it turned out Council was still not done. Councilman Tom Utroska, a resident of Cobblestone, asked that Council make the approval of the amendment contingent on the results of the traffic impact study. To do that, Town Attorney Jim Meggs said, Council could go ahead with the first reading vote, but suspend action on second reading until it had received the results of the traffic study. Council voted 4-0 to pass first reading. Mayor J. Michael Ross did not vote since he had been advised by the S.C. Ethics Commission to recuse himself during discussion and voting on the amendment because he owns a lot in the Primrose area.

Following the vote, Councilman Bob Mangone, who also lives in Cobblestone, said he appreciated Horton’s willingness to cooperate with the Council. The developer has argued all along that it should not be required to do a traffic study since, under the proposed zoning, the build out in the neighborhood would actually be reduced by a total of 511 dwelling units as compared with the current zoning allowance, thus reducing the potential traffic from the neighborhood.

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