Resolution Aimed at Developer

BLYTHEWOOD – Town Council continued on Monday evening to keep Cobblestone developer DR Horton’s feet to the fire in an effort to hold the company responsible for implementing traffic improvements in certain areas in and around Cobblestone Park should a future traffic study warrant such improvements.

During a year-long controversy between members of Town Council and Horton over the types and location of homes Horton planned to build in the upscale, gated community, Horton ended up reducing from 1,666 dwelling units that were allowed under Cobblestone’s then current zoning to 1,155 dwelling units. Horton representative Tom Margle said the reduction in dwelling units should also reduce traffic counts.

But Council wanted Horton to initiate a traffic impact study/traffic signal warrant study to evaluate the effects of increased daily traffic flows into and out of the Cobblestone subdivision at the intersection of Syrup Mill and Blythewood roads where they feared traffic could increase as new dwellings are constructed and occupied, Town Administrator Gary Parker explained during a Sept. 15 Council workshop.

Parker noted that Horton agreed to the studies and, in early 2015, implemented the traffic impact study. An ordinance amending the Cobblestone Park Planned Development District dated April 27 stipulated that Horton could continue to build up to 100 single family homes while any required traffic improvements required by the study were being implemented. Last summer, however, in a letter to Parker, the S.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) expressed satisfaction that no traffic improvements were needed as a result of the study. The DOT also agreed with Horton’s traffic engineering firm’s findings that no traffic signal was warranted. But the DOT did recommended a future traffic/signal review.

On Monday evening, the Town’s attorney, Jim Meggs, presented a formal resolution intended as guidance for the Town’s Zoning Administrator in implementing the April 17 ordinance amendment. While that amendment became moot following the outcome of the original traffic study, the resolution states that Horton has agreed to implement a second study at a future date, between July 23, 2015 and July 23, 2018, and after the Town has issued Horton building permits for the construction of up to 200 single family homes in the Primrose section of Cobblestone.

Should the second traffic study call for Horton to make traffic improvements, the Town agrees in the resolution to allow the Zoning Administrator to issue up to 100 additional building permits above the already-allowed 100 building permits that would continue to be issued during the study and while any recommendations from the second study are being implemented.

Council approved the resolution unanimously. Mayor J. Michael Ross, who lives in the Primrose section of Cobblestone, has recused himself from all discussions and votes on the issue. Two other Council members, Tom Utroska and Bob Mangone, who also reside in Cobblestone Park but not in the Primrose section, were cleared by the S.C. Ethics Commission to discuss and vote on the issue.


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