Aiken County Planning Commission gives conditional approval to patio home development off Hitchcock Parkway
April 23—A patio home neighborhood development project off Hitchcock Parkway in Aiken received the green light from the Aiken County Planning Commission on Thursday.
Meeting at the Aiken County Government Center, the panel approved, with contingencies, the plan for the first phase of the Hitchcock Preserve.
The vote was 7-0.
According to the subdivision map, or preliminary plan, there will be 146 lots on approximately 66 acres in an area that includes Dibble Road and Wando Ridge Road.
The plaintiff was Hitchcock Development LLC, whose registered agent is Karl Haslinger, according to businessfilings.sc.gov.
Southern Partners Inc. is providing engineering services for the project.
During a public hearing, seven people living near the land that will become Hitchcock Preserve expressed their concerns, primarily about heavy construction-related traffic, increased traffic after completion and the sale of the homes and drainage problems.
Another person asked about the public availability of documents from the County Planning and Development Department related to Hitchcock Preserve.
“We had a traffic study done which showed that there were no additional mitigations or improvements needed for access points on Dibble Road or Hitchcock Parkway,” said Philip Green of Southern Partners. .
To address some of the issues mentioned by attendees at the public hearing, Planning Commission Chair Grace Vance, who did not vote at the meeting, suggested that speakers later speak to the Director of Planning. from the county, Joel Duke, who could either help them or direct them to someone who could.
“I’m really sensitive to the concerns of neighbors and what’s going on in their area,” Planning Commission member Dennis Gmerek said. “But when you buy a development and there is undeveloped land around you, there will be more development if that development is successful. That’s just the nature of development.
“You all live in a desirable neighborhood,” he continued. “People want to live there. People want to build there. The only option is either to buy the property that is going to be developed or to move.”
“We have a candidacy that meets our requirements… for us not to approve it would be arbitrary. It would be capricious,” Gmerek concluded. “And we can’t do that as a board.”
In February, when many of the same complaints were aired in a public hearing, the Planning Commission voted not to approve the preliminary plan for the first phase of Hitchcock Preserve.
There will be three development phases in all.
“In the opinion of the (planning and development) staff, they (Hitchcock Development and its representatives) have made some adjustments and corrections to what they presented in February, but, for the most part, it is always the same layout,” said Duke, who is also an assistant county administrator. “There are certain items that cannot be brought back under the county code (of ordinances) without waiting a year, but a preliminary subdivision plate is not one of those items.”
Even though the Planning Commission‘s role in the preliminary plan approval process does not involve dealing with issues on properties already developed nearby, “that is not to say that they (stakeholders) have not no problems, and we want to make sure we get them to the right place (for help),” Duke said. “A lot of the feedback we’ve received is important. It’s information the county needs to hear, and we will fix it (the issues). Some of them can be resolved quickly, and some will require further analysis.”
Other action taken by the Planning Commission on Thursday included unanimous approval, with contingencies, of a major land development on Jefferson Davis Highway near Clearwater Lake in the Horse Creek Valley.
The plaintiff was The Lombard Corporation. According to businessfilings.sc.govthe registered agent is Don Houck.
The developer “proposes to purchase and develop 34 acres (on approximately 47 acres of land),” said Will Buchanan of Johnson, Laschober & Associates, the project engineer.
There are plans for a “180-unit townhouse development with a communal clubhouse, swimming pool and mail stand,” Buchanan added.
There will also be a small playground.
Clearwater Lake is near the Belvedere-Clearwater Road.