As residents pushed back, Richland Co. Council rejects rezoning proposal

Rezoning proposal has Lake Murray residents pushing back
Published: Feb. 27, 2018 at 9:12 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2018 at 9:45 PM EST
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LAKE MURRAY, SC (WIS) - Lake Murray residents took their concerns to the Richland County Council on Tuesday night as a rezoning proposal looks to add nearly 200 homes on Johnson Marina Road.

The Richland County Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to reject the rezoning proposal that would have allowed for more than 200 homes to be built on 82 acres of land on Johnson Marina Road.

More than 10 Lake Murray residents spoke out against the proposal, while two representatives for D.R. Horton, the developer, argued in favor.

"All in all, it's a good night," Louis Urschel, president of the Lakeport Homeowners Association, said. "They can still develop but they would have to reduce to around maybe 100 homes or perhaps that won't fit their business model and they'll have to do something different and that's okay too."

Jordan Hammond, a land manager for D.R. Horton, said the request to change the current zoning from rural to residential reflects a lower density housing development than current, surrounding developments.

Developer D.R. Horton previously asked the county council to rezone the 82 acres of land from rural to residential which would allow it to build new homes that would back up against Lake Murray Elementary School.

Residents in the area claim the addition would put additional stress on already outdated infrastructure.

"The lake Murray Elementary School backs right up to the property D.R. Horton is looking to develop," Louis Urshel, president of the Lakeport Homeowners Association said. "But elementary school students in that new development would not be able to go to that school because there's a freeze in place."

In addition to overcrowding, Urshel said the sewer system would be overwhelmed with more households. He claims it's already causing problems for some homeowners in the area.

"It's backed up into people's basements and overflowed into the lake," he said. "We're not against development but the infrastructure needs to be updated and in place before the addition of all these new homes."

Urshel said the construction of 200 more homes would be a 14 percent increase in the number of homes in the area.

"That's too quick of a boom," he said. "It needs to be more gradual and that is a huge rise."

Tuesday's meeting followed the proposal passing the planning commission at the beginning of the month. The change was passed 4-2 with one person abstaining.

Urshel hoped the public hearing at Tuesday night's meeting will allow him along with dozens of other residents to voice their concerns to the council. Run-off and traffic congestion were also topics of concern for many residents.

WIS reached out to D.R. Horton for comment on the development plans but our phone calls were not returned.

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