Crickentree residents take 5-2 PC vote

Rezoning Request Now Heads for Richland County Council

COLUMBIA – In horseracing terms, it’s pretty close to a hat trick.

More than 50 residents of Crickentree and other Columbia area golf course communities pulled off a third upset in their quest to stop the rezoning of a former golf course property that borders their neighborhood from Traditional Recreational Open Space (TROS) to a residential zoning classification

This time the win came at Monday afternoon’s Richland County Planning Commission where the panel voted against recommending Low Density Residential (RS-LD) zoning to council with a vote of 5-2.

In April, the Commission voted against rezoning the property to Medium Density Residential (RS-MD) by a vote of 7-1. The third victory, of sorts, occurred last month when the applicant, E-Capital, withdrew its rezoning request for Richland County Council’s consideration just minutes before the matter was to be discussed and voted on.

The county planning staff recommended approval before it went before the Planning Commission on Monday.

Robert Fuller, a Columbia attorney representing E-Capital, reasoned that the RS-LD zoning, allowing 3.63 homes to the acre, is the same as the Crickentree property zoning.

County zoning administrator Geo Price pointed out, however, that Crickentree lots are actually larger with 1.04 homes to the acre.

Resident Russ St. Marie said chapter 26 of the county’s zoning ordinance directs that TROS zoned properties and their current uses are to be preserved and protected.

“TROS zoning is just another zoning designation,” Commissioner David Tuttle, one of two commissioners voting for the rezoning, said. “It’s just another zoning classification.

“In this zoning, lots would be restricted to no less than 1,200 square feet,” Fuller told the panel. “We would restrict the number of homes to 207 with a 150-foot buffer between the golf course property and the Crickentree neighborhood. This is the only way the owner can make anything of it.”

The issue will go before County Council on Tuesday, June 25, for first reading and a public hearing. This is the only meeting that residents will be allowed to speak to the issue.