South Carolina

Documents say a water park is planned in SC. A county leader is ‘frustrated’

Public documents gathered by The Herald show that developers are planning a 25-acre water park on Rambo Road in rural Rock Hill.

Documents, applications and site plans from York County government and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) detail an attempt to begin building the outdoor recreation park called “Southtown Wake Park.”

One York County Council member, however, expressed her disappointment last week that the plan did not require any public notice or a public comment period.

The site, listed at 219-255 East Rambo Road, is about three miles away from South Pointe High School and Saluda Trail Middle School.

“I know nothing about (this project),” said Christi Cox, a District 5 county council member who lives on Rambo Road. “And that’s the problem. The county council needs to have some input on this to protect the citizens.”

According to York County’s online plan tracking viewer, a large parcel of land on Rambo Road is owned by TES Land Investment, LLC under the project name Southtown Wake Park.

Audra Miller, the planning and development services director for York County, said her office received a site plan for that area on Nov. 11, 2016. It was approved, she said, on March 3.

The site plan process is administrative, which means staff reviews the application against all applicable zoning and land development requirements and will grant approval if the site plan meets proper requirements.

The issue turned into a passionate discussion when Cox suggested that the York County Planning and Development Department should remove outdoor recreation as a permitted use for the Rural Development District (RUD) ordinance. The area where the water park would go is classified as RUD.

Cox said she wanted to strike outdoor recreation as a permitted use in RUD areas because she was concerned that other groups might use the ordinance to create structures that are inconsistent with the landscape. She said she had long heard rumors of the proposed water park from her constituents, but knew few specifics.

“This can be a tremendous problem for us,” Cox said. “I don’t see how it fits in the general area. It should at least be a special exemption, given the impact in the area. ... We may be too far gone for my district, but I want to help others.”

A stormwater project information record indicates that the project totals 25.66 acres, with 16.8 acres planned to be disturbed. The proposed use is listed as “wake park/outdoor recreation.”

A Facebook page that appears to be connected to the project describes SouthTown Wake Park as “a full sized cable wakeboard complex in Rock Hill.” The page has posted two videos, including one that asks fans to “stay tuned for updates about the construction of the park and information about when we will be open for business.

Robert Yanity, public information officer with DHEC, said the project is being constructed as a “Natural Public Swimming Area,” which does require a construction permit, but will require an operating permit prior to opening.

The project did receive approval through DHEC for a public drinking water system at the site. It also has received a Construction General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities from DHEC.

A stormwater document submitted through York County listed a proposed construction start date of March and a proposed completion date of August.

A representative with the Facebook group replied to The Herald to say that they were “holding off on releasing too much info on the park as we want to wait until we cross a few more milestones.”

Cox said she felt “frustrated,” adding that if the water park was classified as a special exemption, those responsible could go in front of the county council to plead their case for inclusion in the community.

County council member Allison Love said she felt the water park would be a “detriment” to the area, and said she wouldn’t want one in her district.

David Thackham: 803-329-4066, @dthackham