PC votes for council to rezone Red Gate

BLYTHEWOOD – As was expected, the Blythewood planning commission voted 5-0 Tuesday evening to recommend that Town Council rezone the Red Gate property and a smaller adjoining property from Planned Development (PD) zoning designation to Development (D-1) zoning.

But the properties’ owners, who sat in the audience during the commission’s proceedings, say they are not happy with the commission’s recommendation, and that it will keep them from developing their properties as they had planned.

The rezoning of the 143-acre property has been discussed by Blythewood town government for the last couple of years. Annexed into the town in 2007 from Richland County where it had been zoned Planned Development District (PDD), the property was subsequently zoned PD by the Town. Before it could be developed, however, the property went through several transitions. After the larger parcel (Red Gate) went into bankruptcy, its ownership was assumed by Arthur State Bank. It was purchased last month by Blythewood resident Byron Dinkins.

The 2.41-acre corner parcel was purchased by Larry Sharpe, who said he had planned to construct a service station and convenience store on the property.

“I don’t know what’s been going on over the years. It seems like it’s always one thing or the other,” Sharpe told the commission.

“At first, Winnsboro couldn’t supply us with water. Now we don’t have the sewer. We’re trying now to work with DOT (SC Department of Transportation). The curb cuts have already been approved, but they can’t tell us exactly where the new road is going to be,” Sharpe said. “I’ve already cleared the property and brought it up to subgrade and built a detention pond off site according to the recommendation of the engineers. Everything is approved on that site, except we still don’t have sewer. That’s the only thing that’s actually holding us back – that and the DOT recommendations. So, if those things were in place, I would be ready to move forward.

“I would like to see the zoning stay as it is, because the property is already predesigned for that use,” Sharpe said.

But the Town of Blythewood code of ordinances places a time-specific condition upon the established PD zoning district, with a mandate for the planning commission to initiate a rezoning under certain circumstances. The commission determined at its Aug. 3 meeting that the Red Gate property fails under those ‘certain circumstances,’

Town Administrator Brian Cook confirmed that if the zoning were changed to D-1, and Sharpe planned to construct the service station and convenience store, he would have to apply to rezone that corner parcel.

Dinkins attended the meeting with commercial real estate broker Tom Milliken, who told The Voice following the meeting that Dinkins had purchased the property with the intent of developing it according to the original PD plans, and that the rezoning to D-1 would make it impossible for him to do that.

The original PD zoned property was to be comprised of 232 single family units, 300 multi-family apartment units and 36 acres of general commercial.

The D-1 zoning designation provides for large tracts of land located primarily on the fringe of urban growth where the predominant character of urban development as not yet been fully established, but is predominately residential or agricultural with scattered related uses.

Council will met at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 28, at Doko Manor for the first of two votes on the zoning fate of Red Gate.