Chester Co. Residents Speak Out Against Proposed Developments

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – Several residents in Chester County planned to attend the Chester County Council meeting that took place Tuesday night to let their voices be heard when it comes to proposed developments

Neighbors say the proposed plans could bring more than 1,500 homes to Chester County.

This will be the first readings for these rezoning requests, that if approved would allow the developments to come.

Several community members say they are worried it will interrupt their quality of life in the rural area.

At the meeting council denied the first reading for a rezoning that would bring a development off of Gaston Farm Road that would have 400 single family homes.

Leaders say they lot size would be a minimum area of 7,000 square feet with a total density of the development to be 2.25 lots per acre.

Council also denied the first reading of a rezoning that would bring a development of 1,124 total units built in 3 phases.

These are just the first readings. There will be two more readings at upcoming council meetings.

Below is CN2’s coverage from Monday when a resident spoke about her concerns when it comes to the proposed development on Gaston Farm Road.

There will be more updates to this story as the meetings continue in the upcoming weeks.

Below is a summary of the council meeting from councilman, Pete Wilson.

At tonight’s Chester County Council meeting, there were seventeen speakers who spoke during Citizen Comments.  Some were there to speak about worker and labor issues at GITI Tire.  All others spoke about zoning issues mostly in regard to the proposed Planned Development on Gaston Farm Road.

County council approved the third reading of an ordinance to execute an infrastructure credit agreement between Chester County and Project Paper.  This project was actually identified in a press release on August 23rd as Morcon Tissue.  They are investing an additional $2.4 million in their tissue conversion plant located in Great Falls.  Council also approved final reading of an ordinance to create a deadline for the registration of bidders for individuals wanting to bid at the Chester County Delinquent Tax Sale.  The deadline will be 5 PM on the Friday before the sale.  This will allow for adequate time to prepare for the sale.  Council approved a list of certain equipment and vehicles to be sold at an upcoming sale in Richburg on Lyle Rd.  The proceeds of the sale will be allocated back to the departments that the items originated from.

Council approved all items from the CCTC meeting including $6,903.36 for sign materials, $49,670.03 for road materials, and $500 for dedications markers for Major General Gary T. McCoy Road Memorial Hwy dedication signs.

Council approved the 2nd readings of a rezoning request for George Wilmore on Louise Drive and the 2nd reading for James Shelton and Austin Rhodes on Transportation Drive.  Council approved a $10,000 grant with a 50% match from Halfway There Rescue for spay and neuter programs.  Since February, 650 dogs/cats have been altered in partnership with the animal shelter.  Council approved a bid of $48,832 for a 60KW generator and installation for Fort Lawn Fire Department and $68,322 for a 100KW generator for the Chester-Catawba Regional Airport.  Both bids were awarded to the lowest bidder which was Carolina Electrical Resources.


Treasurer Tommy Darby and Auditor Donnie Wade presented the recommendations for the 2022 Tax Millage.  For county operations, the maximum allowable increase would be 4.7% which would be 6 millage points.  The recommendation that was approved by council is an increase of 5 mills for county operations for a total tax levy of 149.9 mills.  The millage rate is based on factors such as the approved budget for 2022/2023 and projected revenues.  This increase for county operations comes to about $20 for a home valued at $100k.

Council approved the 1st reading to rezone property on Walnut Grove Lane from R3 to R2.  This will allow the owner to combine parcels.  Council approved the 1st reading to rezone property on Thomas E Davis Lane from R2 to RG1.  Council approved the 1st reading of the recommendation of the Planning Commission to deny the rezoning of property on Starnes Road from R2 to ID-2 to permit a trucking company to continue operations there.

At the beginning of the meeting, the agenda was amended to strike the 1st reading for a planned development to be located on Hwy 9 and Hwy 909.  The applicant withdrew the application which means they would have to start over from the beginning if they chose to do so.  The Planning Commission had voted to recommend to deny the request by a vote of 6 to 0.

The first PD that was discussed tonight was the one located off of Gaston Farm Road that would have 400 single family lots.  The lot size would be a minimum area of 7,000 square feet with a total density of the development to be 2.25 lots per acre (400 lots on 180 acres).  The lot widths would be either 60’ or 70’.  The existing ponds would remain, and a buffer would be kept around the streams.  The streets would be 26’ of pavement and would include a sidewalk on both sides.  Each lot would have 2 parking spots in the garage and 2 in the driveway.  There would be a HOA in place.  Full build out would be anticipated for 2029.  A traffic impact study showed the need for a left turn lane on Lyle Rd at Hwy 9 and the developer had agreed to fund those improvements.  There would be a minimum of a 50 foot buffer around the property that would meet the county standards which included the terms for reduced visibility.   The starting price for the homes would be about $328k.

When it came time to make a motion, after a long pause I motioned to approve the recommendation of the Planning Commission to approve the rezoning.  After some discussion by most of the other members of council, I took my turn to explain some of my viewpoints to the large crowd there in opposition.  It is hard to summarize all that I’ve been going over and over in my mind leading up to this decision, but I did share a good bit of it with the audience (probably the most I’ve ever spoken at a council meeting at one time).  I hope the audience can recognize that I was speaking from the heart and didn’t take my decision lightly.  My intent from the beginning was to see if we could find a way to mitigate the most serious concerns related to this development prior to the 3rd reading.  The 1st and 2nd readings really don’t mean much but does give the public an idea of the intent of council…it is the third reading that counts.  If we could not find a way to mitigate the serious concerns, then I would have voted against it.  However, after hearing the discussion from a majority of the council members it was clear to me that there was no appetite for even trying to find common ground between council, the developer, and the community.  For that reason, I requested to withdraw my motion and instead motioned to oppose the recommendation of the Planning Commission to rezone.  This motion was approved unanimously.

If only our problems related to growth could be handled by simply voting down PDs like this, then we would have an easy solution, but I don’t believe that’s the case.  I truly believe that high density housing has a place in Chester County and the demand for the market seems to focus on the areas with easy access to exit 65.  I welcome input from anyone who would like to tell me where they may agree or disagree with me.  I heard a lot of comments about protecting farmland tonight and it’s my honest opinion that 2+ acre lots scattered across Chester County don’t really accomplish that and will likely do the opposite.  There are traffic considerations too for all the collector roads.

The next rezoning request was to allow a PD to be built on Hwy 9 next to Lewisville High and Elementary schools on 494 acres and for a zoning change from ID-1 and ID-2 to PD.  There would be 1,124 total units built in 3 phases.  The gross density would be 2.3 units an acre with lot widths of 50’ and 60’.  In an effort to be consistent with the vote we had just taken, I opposed this development as well.  The final vote was 4 to 3 in opposition of the recommendation of the Planning Commission to rezone.  I have not had an opportunity to ride down Sloan Rd and see the site myself.  I will be doing a lot more research about how the neighboring ID-1 and ID-2 could co-exist with this PD and may end up supporting this rezoning request by 2nd reading.  I welcome your input especially if you live next to any of the parcels being rezoned.  I also appreciate specific concerns/suggestions that we can attempt to mitigate with the developer.

Going forward, I think we’ve got to significantly increase our development agreement fees to help offset the cost to the county from the new housing.  I would also like to learn more about how the school board plans to meet the funding needs from this growth.  I believe growth is coming no matter whether these PDs are approved or not.

In executive session, council received legal advice regarding Project 2228, Project 2281, the Planning Commission, and the Sheriff’s Office.  All were taken as information only.

Previous articleCN2 Today – Victory Gardens International Bringing Healthy Food Access to South Side
Next articleCN2 Today – September Events in the Town of Clover