Blythewood PC votes against rezoning for U-Haul

Gordge: Rezoning Would Make Most Housing, Commercial & Leisure No Longer Available

BLYTHEWOOD – After Blythewood Planning Commissioners expressed gratitude to the U-Haul company on Community Road for its graciousness and goodwill over the years to allow Buck and Kristi Coggins to use, at no charge,  several acres of U-Haul’s land for the Coggins’ twice a year rodeo, the commission then voted unanimously against U-Haul’s request for a rezoning change for the property.

According to Town Administrator Carroll Williamson, U-Haul requested to rezone the property located in the 800 block of Community Road (TMS# 15100-0402) from Town Center District (TCD) to Community Commercial District (CC).

Community Commercial zoning is the Town’s highest use commercial zoning district.

Kevin Anderson, the Marketing Director for U-Haul, said the company would like to build state-of-the-art self-storage units on a portion of the property and that such use is not allowed under its current Town Center District zoning.

Anderson said the storage units would feature climate control interiors, controlled access and that the 18.5 acre property would remain under the umbrella of the Town’s Architectural Overlay District.

Much of the commissioners’ discussion about the rezoning focused on the rodeo’s use of the land and expressions of how popular the rodeo was with the community.

The Town government funds the rodeo $50,000 annually for two rodeo performances at the site.

“The issue, from my perspective, is that your goodwill has resulted in something that is very popular,” said Commissioner Marty Wells who lives in Cobblestone, across Blythewood Road from the U-Haul property where the storage units would be constructed if the rezoning is approved.

“So, obviously, I believe it’s going to be highly visible and a lot of people are going to watch what the end result is going to be,” Wells said.

 “It [the rodeo] is a big deal in our town,” Commissioner Erica Page said.

The Greater Blythewood Chamber of Commerce Director Phil Frye, also weighed in against U-Haul’s rezoning, saying the majority of businesses in the Town are opposed to the rezoning. He did not say how many businesses oppose the rezoning nor did he name any businesses who opposed it.

“As a general rule, everyone is opposed to it to the extent that they have come to me and mentioned it,” Frye said. “I have received a number of calls from our members and board with a bit of concern from the standpoint of rezoning this property in this manner.”

Frye’s only objection was that he said, “the infrastructure is stretched as it is and immediately next to the interstate – an obvious traffic scenario not only that we have now but will be experiencing in the way too near future.”

Anderson explained to the Commission that the storage facility would provide a service for Blythewood residents.

“We will continue to be good neighbors,” Anderson said. “We have a good track record around the country.”

Commission Chair Malcolm Gordge asked if U-Haul would be using all the property.

“Right now, we currently have a plan to use a portion of the land. We have been looking at options to continue to support the rodeo, but I don’t know if or what they’re willing to take and help with it. We’re flexible,” Anderson said.

Wells asked Anderson how this business (storage units) would fit in.

“I see us fitting in all across the country – small and large communities. We’re a household family name,” he said. “If I had to guess, half of the room plus have used a U-Haul to move. I see us fitting in perfectly.”

Gordge, who is generally known to be pro businesses, expressed his objection to this rezoning and ended the discussion with a foreboding perspective if the property were rezoned.

“It’s obvious the growth of the town is westward from its original town center location,” Gordge said. “And the masterplan drawn up some 12 years ago showed this area to be a mixed use development to provide maximum benefit to the community that included housing, commercial and leisure.

“If this (rezoning) were to go forward, most of that [housing, commercial and leisure] would no longer be available.

Gordge said he “felt obliged to put that on the record,” but did not explain why he thought housing, commercial and leisure would no longer be available.

After no commissioner made a motion to approve recommending the rezoning, Commissioner Ed Kesser made a motion to recommend to Town Council disapproval of the map amendment to change the zoning of tax map number R15100-04-02, located on Community Road and Blythewood Road, from Town Center District to Community Commercial District. 

The vote in favor of the motion to recommend disapproval was 6-0.

Town Council will take first vote on the requested rezoning at its next regular meeting at 6 p.m., June 27. A public hearing on the matter will be held at that meeting as well.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]