Richland County Council on Tuesday will revisit a contentious zoning request that would allow hundreds of homes to be built in a now-rural portion of Blythewood, in the northern part of the county.
Developer Drapac Group returns to the county with the same request it brought two months ago that would allow as many as 529 homes to be built on 202 acres off Heins Road. Current zoning allows homes to be built at a lower density. County staff and the planning commission have recommended council’s approval of the rezoning request.
In light of some residents’ concerns about the high density, Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson said, the developer has agreed to build no more than 375 homes. And, Dickerson said, a “contractual deed restriction” would prevent any future owner of the property from building beyond that 375-home restriction.
Attempts to reach representatives of Drapac Group, an Atlanta-based national and international real estate developer, were unsuccessful last week.
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The development, and other residential and commercial ventures in the area, would transform some of the last slivers of rural character in the area. Residents also are watching a potential commercial development on Rimer Pond Road near Blythewood Middle School. Council will take a first vote on that zoning request, too, on Tuesday.
Numerous residents spoke up in September against Drapac’s request to rezone the Heins Road property to allow more than 500 homes to be built on lots of .45 of an acre or less.
After hearing residents’ concerns about traffic congestion, light and noise pollution as well as future residential and commercial development, Dickerson asked council to defer its first vote on the matter until after she could arrange a meeting between the residents and representatives of Drapac Group.
About 50 or 60 residents met with the developer in October, said Jay Keefer, who lives about a mile from the proposed development site.
“Nobody liked it,” Keefer said of the plans shared by Drapac representatives. “It doesn’t fit the community. It looks like a Lake Carolina or Summit type of development plopped in the middle of a forest.”
Despite some residents’ concerns, development in the area is inevitable, Dickerson said.
“(T)he property is going to be developed with or without my vote,” Dickerson wrote in one email to a constituent.
“People want to move into that area,” Dickerson said in a subsequent interview with The State newspaper. “I don’t think I should be the one to stand in the way saying they can’t come.
“Change is coming whether we like it or not. We just have to figure out the best way to absorb the change.”
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.
Commercial request on Rimer Pond Road
Richland County Council on Tuesday also will consider a rezoning request for a little more than 5 acres at the corner of Rimer Pond and Longtown roads in Blythewood, across the street from Blythewood Middle School.
The property’s owner, Hugh Palmer, is requesting the land be rezoned from residential to commercial.
The site is listed for sale by NAI Avant and is being marketed as commercial property.
County staff has recommended approval of the rezoning. The county Planning Commission split 4-4 on whether to recommend the change.
If you go
The Richland County Zoning Public Hearing, at which the Heins Road, Rimer Pond Road and several other zoning requests will be considered by County Council, will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. in council chambers at 2020 Hampton St., Columbia.
The agenda can be found online here.