Longcreek Plantation homeowners won an initial skirmish Monday against turning the last section of the neighborhood near Blythewood into a blend of stores, offices and residences.
The Richland County Planning Commission rejected a proposal seeking extra flexibility in commercial and residential projects on the 140-acre site.
Developers may ask County Council to put a final decision on hold in hopes of reaching a compromise with homeowners.
Steve McNair, one partner in the development team, was uncertain if that is in the offing after telling the commission his group is willing “to sit down and work with these folks a little bit more.”
But David Kirkland, one homeowners’ leaders, doubts a deal can be reached. The plan is “not consistent” with the character of the neighborhood, he said.
Commission members unanimously recommended rejection after some said the guidelines sought are vague, amounting to a blank check for the developers.
The plan has some desirable features but its standards are “a whole lot of ifs, maybes and buts,” commission member Howard Van Dine said.
His development team needs the ability to adjust design and lot sizes as economic conditions warrant over the decade it is expected to take to complete the plan, McNair told the panel.
Commercial areas in the project would be home to medical care and small retail services wanted by neighbors but their inclusion is “not extremely important to us,” he said.
The plan envisions about 425 new homes, about 145 more than currently allowed.
Two dozen homeowners spoke out against the plan, saying features like new parks and paths are outweighed by more road congestion in steadily growing Northeast Richland and homes not compatible with those already built.
Council members could take up the proposal as soon as April 24 unless developers ask for a delay if talks suggest a deal can be made.
Commission chairman Patrick Palmer suggested further efforts that “go the extra mile to bring residents there on board.”