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Architectural Review Board rejects plans for retail center

Posted on Friday, April 6th, 2018 at 4:21 pm. Posted to Community.

The Town of Chapin’s Architectural Review Board Thursday rejected plans as submitted for a 13,000 square foot retail center in the Chapin Crossing center in front of Publix, which would be occupied by two restaurants and other businesses.

The primary sticking point was the Board’s insistence that the front of the building should face U.S. 76 (Chapin Road), rather than toward Publix as it is currently planned.

Board member Harmon Reed moved “that additional site plans should be presented to this Board and that approval of plans for the proposed Chapin Crossing Outparcel Development be denied at this point. That motion was unanimously passed by the three board members present – Chairman Ken Loveless, Jason Mack and Harmon Reed. Absent from the meeting were board members Gerald Meetze and Bryson Tucker.

After determining that several issues concerning the building elevation, facades and plans for pedestrian crosswalks had been complied with, the Board turned its attention to the proposed location of the building facing away from the highway.

Chairman Loveless said, “I think the discussion here is centered around what the hanging point of this whole thing has always been – is that we want the building to be on Chapin Road and the developer wants the building to be facing the existing shopping center. We considered this to be a four façade building and I think what our COG (Central Midlands Council of Governments) person was saying that he’s viewing those ends as facades additionally, not just the front and back.”

“We wanted the front of the building to be on our main drag. And we don’t want the back of the building in use,” Loveless said, displaying pictures of trash piled up behind the Publix building.
Board member Reed said, “We didn’t talk about what I think is the big gorilla in the room, which is that the façade which faces Highway 76 is the service side.”

Wes Taylor, architect with LTC Associates, said, “I think we developed that as a primary façade. I don’t know how we could speculate on function.”

Reed replied, “But nobody on the Architectural Review Board, nor you are the general contractor has any control over how the tenants act, and we don’t have any faith that the developer has any control over how the tenants will act. It’s my opinion that because that façade is the back door and the service entrance, it means all items go in and all sorts of items go out. It’ll be the place where employees have their smoke breaks. It will be the place where there will be garbage cans or containers of some sort. It will be the back of the building.”

Taylor disagreed, and becoming somewhat testy he said, “I think the façade has been developed as a primary façade. It’s either architecturally complying or it’s not. You’re talking about function that I have no control over. There’s nothing on these drawings that would indicate it’s a backdoor for trash storage facilities.”

Reed said “I think there are other ways to locate the building on this piece of property. This is not the only way.”

Taylor said, “If we’re talking about redoing the site plan, let’s just talk about that – not hide behind the building design.”

The Board questioned whether the building could be moved back with parking toward the road, or possibly turned 90 degrees.

Taylor questioned whether the Board has the authority to decide which elevation faces the main street. He suggested that the Board would have to accept a wall or a berm or a fence between the building and the highway if the Board wants to require that.

The Board’s decision to reject the plan with the front of the building facing Publix could be appealed to Circuit Court.


Grand Opening, Palmetto Bone & Joint

Posted on Friday, April 6th, 2018 at 4:14 pm. Posted to Community.

PALMETTO BONE & JOINT

Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Palmetto Bone & Joint in Chapin on Friday, April 6, 2018, before it opens next week. Remarks by Dr. Phillip Milner, Orthopedic Surgeon.

Palmetto Bone & Joint was established in 1994 to serve the communities of the Midlands and Upstate of South Carolina with state-of-the-art orthopedic medicine. Today, orthopedic surgeons and staff provide exceptional, patient-centered orthopedic care from two locations, one in Clinton, the other in Newberry, and now the new facility in Chapin.


VIRGINIA AVENUE SITE AGAIN BEING EYED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT

Posted on Sunday, February 18th, 2018 at 9:57 pm. Posted to Community.

The Morrow Companies, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., has requested a zoning compliance letter from the Town of Chapin regarding a proposed 48-unit development on a 4.65-acre site fronting on Virginia Street.adjacent to Aquarius Spa and between Bi-Lo and Food Lion centers.

The requested letter would confirm that the site currently meets the local zoning and land use restrictions and has been zoned by the Town as located within an MF (multi-family residential) zoning district.

The company’s Acquisitions Manager Jonathan Wolbach said This would be a 44-48 unit community on 4.65 acres.  Per the zoning, we can fit 11 units per acre.  May do one building. May do two.”

In a letter to Mayor David W. Knight, Wolbach asked for a letter of support for affordable housing initiatives in Chapin, as indicated in the Town’s 2011 Comprehensive Plan. We are proposing a workforce housing community for existing citizens working at local businesses, government, and organizations to help them find affordable housing alternatives. This 44-48 unit community, located on Virginia Street, will be a safe, well-managed, and aesthetically pleasing addition to the town.”

The current Town Zoning Ordinance apparently would not prohibit such development.

But a similar project proposed in 2016, referred to as “Peaks At Chapin” met with heavy public opposition. That proposed plan to build a low income apartment complex in the Town of Chapin was halted, after the development failed to receive the grant they needed to keep the housing affordable.

Plans then had been to construct two 24-unit buildings, each with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, according to a developer with the Atlanta-based Resource Housing Group.

The Peaks at Chapin was one of 42 applications for tax credits submitted to the South Carolina Housing Finance and Development Authority (SC Housing) in the 2016 funding cycle. About 20 project proposals are chosen each year, according to data from the state agency.

Any changes that may be desired by area leaders would probably need to be made prior to the land going under contract. That would be an issue for attorneys to decide. Chapin currently is in the process of contracting a town attorney.  Chapin had no town attorney during the previous administration.   Chapin also is currently without a Zoning Administrator, and has contracted with Central Midlands Council of Governments for Planning Assistance for a six-month period until the position of planning and zoning administrator can be filled.

The Morrow Companies specialize in multi-family, commercial and investment properties throughout the Southeast.  Read more about them on their web page:  www.morrowcompanies.com


Chapin Town Council Agenda Nov. 15

Posted on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 at 8:09 am. Posted to Community.

The Chapin Town Council will hold its Rescheduled Regular Town Council Meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 in the Council Chambers at Town Hall (157 NW Columbia Avenue, Chapin, SC 29036).


Court Ruling Lets Council Majority Call Special Meetings

Posted on Monday, October 23rd, 2017 at 10:01 am. Posted to Community.

The Supreme Court of South Carolina will not review an appeals court ruling that three members of the Chapin Town Council may legally call a special meeting of the Town Council and set the agenda to be considered.
A Court order issued on Oct. 19, denies the petition for a writ of certiorari petitioned by Mayor James R. “Skip” Wilson and Council Member Gregg White, against an appeals court ruling some 15 months ago favoring Council Members Bibi Atkins, Kay Hollis and Robbie Frick.

The ruling means that special meetings called by Atkins, Hollis and Frick on April 10 and 17, 2014, were legal, and actions taken during those meetings were official and binding. Mayor Wilson and Councilman White did not attend the meetings.

The three council members, constituting a majority, had voted to amend the ordinance governing meeting agendas. Their provisions allowed any member of council to add an agenda item and also gave residents the opportunity to recommend items.

Circuit Judge Thomas Cooper declared the special meetings “illegal because the members did not present the agenda to the mayor for his approval.”

On March 9, 2016, the SC Court of Appeals overturned Cooper’s order that gave Wilson sole authority to decide what items will be discussed at all council sessions.

The court said allowing the mayor to veto topics other town leaders want to discuss and possibly adopt is “effectively stripping the majority of its authority to call the meeting.”

Since there can be no further appeal of the Supreme Court’s decision, a majority of council members may call special meetings and set the agenda to be discussed and voted on at those meetings, with or without the mayor’s approval.

Council member Kay Hollis said she is pleased with the Supreme Court decision. Mrs. Atkins did not seek re-election and is not currently a member of Council. Council member Robbie Frick will complete his term this year and is not seeking re-election.


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