Crickentree residents to plead case before PC

BLYTHEWOOD – A request to rezone the former Golf Course of South Carolina property from Traditional Residential Open Space (TROS/RURAL) to Medium Density (RS-MD) is set to be heard by the Richland County Planning Commission on Monday, April 1, at 3 p.m.

The property is owned by Texas investment firm E-Capital which purchased the mortgage on the now foreclosed golf course last August. The 183-acre property consists of two parcels and borders the Crickentree subdivision with access to Langford Road. Cricketree subdivision is accessed off Kelly Mill Road.

Attorney Robert Fuller, representing Texas investment firm E-Capital, is expected to ask the Planning Commissioners to recommend MD zoning to Richland County Council with the promise to build only 249 homes. That number is down from 480 homes he proposed last fall.

But at a joint meeting of the residents and E-Capital in February, Richland County Zoning Administrator Geonard Price explained that no matter how few homes the developer promises to build, he will be allowed to build up to 949 homes on the property under the requested MD zoning if it is approved.

E-Capital representatives have told residents that E-Capital does not plan to develop the property, but sell it to a developer.

Crickentree neighbors, who have met on three occasions with E-Capital since last Fall, say they fear the rezoning to higher density  will lower the value of their homes and increase what they say is already intolerable traffic congestion in the Blythewood area.

The County’s administrative planning staff (employees) have recommended that the Planning Commissioners, who are appointed by Council, approve the rezoning.

According to the planning staff’s zoning district summary, the minimum lot area for RS-MD zoning is 8,500 square feet. Based on a gross density calculation, the maximum number of units for the site is approximately 949 dwelling units.

The planning staff, in recommending approval of the RS-MD zoning for the golf course, states that the proposed zoning is consistent with the 2015 County Comprehensive Plan that designates this area as Neighborhood Medium Density.

However, the planning staff also concludes that approval of the request for RS-MD zoning may promote a housing density that is not consistent with that of the established and proposed developments of the adjacent and promote subdivisions (Hunters Run, The Park at Crickentree and Crickentree.

Planning Commission’s vote to approve or disapprove will only be a recommendation to County Council which will then hold a public hearing and first vote on April 23. This is the only time residents will be allowed to speak to the issues. If the vote passes to rezone the property, there will be two more votes in May and June.

To address the Commission at the April 1 meeting, citizens should arrive about 15 minutes early (12:45 p.m.) to sign up on the speakers list, ‘for’ or ‘against’ the rezoning. No one can sign up after the sign-up sheets are picked up.  The meeting is held in Council chambers in the County building at 2020 Hampton Street in Columbia. For more information, call the County ombudsman at 929-6000 to direct your call to the planning staff or Concerned Citizens of Crickentree at 803-719-1242 or visit SaveGolfCourses.com