Guest Editorial: E-Capital’s Crickentree plan is not legally binding

Koska

Following the Feb. 7 meeting at Doko Manor with Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, Crickentree neighbors, residents of other golf courses and E-Capital representatives, I met with Geo Price, Richland County Zoning Administrator and Deputy Director of Planning. He informed me that the presentations by E-Capital which featured a reduced number of housing units (247) and 150-foot buffers on the golf course adjacent to Crickentree are not legally binding on the company or the County.

If approved, the low density zoning request for 247 homes that E Capital representatives have said they are seeking, would actually allow the owner/developer of the property to place as many as 650 homes on the property based on current low density regulations and the acreage involved.

The promises and drawings presented by E Capital at our Feb. 7 meeting would not be legally enforceable, including the 150 ft. proposed buffer, retention of ponds or trees, placement and quantity of homes, etc.

The plan they have presented is basically a marketing tool and once the zoning change is approved, that plan can be totally scrapped and the owner/developer of the land can build whatever they desire according to the guidelines of Richland County’s RS-LD Residential Low Density District.

The Rezoning Process

The zoning request will first go before a Richland County Planning Commission which meets at 1 p.m. the first Monday of the month in Council Chambers. The seven-member Commission, which includes several developer/realtor types, will make a recommendation to Council. The public is allowed to speak at this meeting.

The issue usually then goes to Council for a public hearing and first vote later that same month.

Richland County Council does not consider (and they are not required to consider) any of the following issues when evaluating rezoning requests: traffic, schools, infrastructure, wetlands preservations, water shed, property value losses, etc.

In addition, at the first reading (vote) of the zoning request – which could occur as early as April 23 – County Council allows only 30 minutes of public input from the community. After the public hearing at first reading, public input regarding the issue is over. No public input is allowed at the second and third reading.

If E Capital submits their request by April 1, this entire process could be over by early June, so time is of the essence. Our only real chance to act is now through April 23.

Also, it is my understanding that almost every zoning request of this type is approved by Richland County. But feel free to do your own research and consult your own lawyer if you would like.

It is important to know that if the TROS zoning is overturned for Crickentree, it will set precedent for all golf course communities in Richland County. We must act quickly to stop this from happening.

I have a plan for what to do next and hope to soon call a public meeting to bring awareness of this issue to not only the residents of Crickentree but also to other Richland County golf course community residents who this rezoning request will affect.

If you would like to learn more and help save our golf course communities from extinction and worse, contact me at 803-719-1242 or SaveGolfCourses.com.