Dickerson leads vote to defeat TROS

COLUMBIA – Without providing documentation guaranteeing a promised 250-foot buffer between Crickentree residents and an undetermined number of homes proposed on the adjoining former Golf Course of South Carolina, Blythewood’s representative on County Council, Joyce Dickerson, led the charge on third and final reading Tuesday night to rezone the golf course from Traditional Recreational Open Space (TROS) zoning to Low Density Residential (RS-LD) zoning.

The vote was 8-3 with council members Calvin “Chip” Jackson, Allison Terracio and Jim Manning voting against. The county planning commission voted last spring to recommend that council not approve the request.

While the property owner, investment firm E-Capital, has proposed no more than 170 homes on the property, the zoning designation allows for several hundred homes. Robert Fuller, attorney for the firm, has said it plans to flip the property to a developer.

Over the last year, Fuller and the developer proposed deed restrictions to protect the environment of the Crickentree neighborhood from what could be a much higher density of homes on the golf course property. Those deed restrictions never materialized.

During 20 minutes of discussion, Jackson, Terracio and Manning said they were dismayed that Dickerson had not produced documentation that would establish the 250-foot buffer in perpetuity as residents had been promise.

Jackson reminded Dickerson that the meeting had been deferred from July to September to allow her and E-Capital sufficient time to finalize plans with the neighboring Crickentree community and provide documentation of those agreements.

Dickerson said it was her understanding that the 250-foot buffer would be placed into a conservation easement. When Manning asked if that had been done, a member of the county said no documentation for the easement had been filed with the conservation commission.

Several county council meetings over the last year have been marked with dissension between some members of council and the residents who pleaded their case. At one point Dickerson accused the residents of sending her threatening emails. She dismissed the emails as not that important, however when asked by The Voice to produce them.

Jackson said he had hoped council would do the right thing. He expressed concern with the out-of-control growth in the northeast and said he had hoped for a deferral of the matter until everything had been properly worked out.

“This is too important to rush this kind of decision through,” Jackson said.