Golf course zoning up for vote

Council Meeting Set for April 23

BLYTHEWOOD – Crickentree residents who oppose the proposed rezoning of the former Golf Course of South Carolina may have their toughest battle yet on April 23 when the issue goes before Richland County Council for first reading.

Last month, the County’s Planning Commission voted 7-1 in the resident’s favor – to recommend that Council not change the zoning of the golf course, which shares a border with Crickentree, from its current Traditional Residential Open Spaces (TROS) to Medium Density Residential (RD-MS) use.

But that win was only the first step in the residents’ effort to defeat the rezoning bid. The request for rezoning will now have three readings (votes) by County Council. The first, on April 23, will be the only opportunity that residents will have to address council about the issue. If Council votes is in favor of the rezoning at that meeting, it will hold two more readings without residents being allowed to speak. If council votes against the rezoning, the issue will be dead for another year or until a different zoning classification is requested.

Crickentree residents have been reaching out to residents of other golf course communities to attend as well, since those golf courses could be affected next if the Golf Course of South Carolina is rezoned.

The County planning staff has recommended approval of the rezoning, saying it complies with the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan which recommends for that area to be zoned RS-MD in the future. That zoning designation would allow up to 600 or so homes to be built on 8,500 square foot lots.

But while the planning staff makes that recommendation, it also concludes that approval of the request may promote a density which is not consistent with that of the established and proposed developments of the adjacent and proximate subdivisions (Hunters Run, The Park at Crickentree, and Crickentree).

Attorney for E-Capital, Robert Fuller, laid out a plan for the property to be developed under medium density zoning, but promised that no more than 237 homes would be built, not the 600 or so allowed under the requested zoning classification.

Commissioner Heather Cairns interrupted Fuller’s presentation to point out that the Commission’s responsibility was not to consider the plan he was presenting, but to consider whether 186 acres should be rezoned to allow 8,500 square foot lots over its entire existence.

Resident Russell St. Marie also challenged Fuller’s plan for development of the property.

“E-Capital is on record that they have no intention of developing this property,” St. Louis said. “They merely want to get the zoning changed and sell the property to a developer.”

Under questioning by the Planning Commission Chair, Stephen Gilchrist, Richland County Zoning Director Geonard Price said that, according to the purpose statement of the TROS ordinance, it was to insure preservation of conservation, recreation and open space.

The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 23 at the County Council Chambers, 2020 Hampton Building. Those wishing to sign up to speak for or against the rezoning will need to arrive early to sign up.

For more information call the County Ombudsman at 939-6000 to direct your call to the planning staff or call Concerned Citizens of Crickentree at 803-719-1242 or visit SaveGolfCourses.com.