Townhouses, drain improvements, grant considered by Sumter City Council

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 12/20/18

Sumter City Council approved first reading of two requests to rezone property on West Oakland Avenue and annex it into the city for the possible construction of a townhouse development during its last meeting of 2018 on Tuesday.

Townhouses could …

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Townhouses, drain improvements, grant considered by Sumter City Council

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Sumter City Council approved first reading of two requests to rezone property on West Oakland Avenue and annex it into the city for the possible construction of a townhouse development during its last meeting of 2018 on Tuesday.

Townhouses could follow West Oakland Avenue rezoning

Reading: First of two

Agenda item: A request to rezone approximately 21.76 acres at 2135 W. Oakland Ave. from residential-15 to residential-6.

Background: The property is located between Lynam and Wedgefield roads, West Oakland Avenue and Freedom Boulevard with frontage on Oakland Avenue and Lynam Road.

The applicant, Knowlton Properties LLC, has also filed an annexation request with the city, which is also under review.

According to a Sumter Planning Department staff report, the applicant intends to construct a townhouse development on the heavily wooded property.

George McGregor, planning department director, said residential-15 - the predominant zoning in the area - requires a minimum lot size of 15,000-square-feet, and residential-6 requires a minimum 6,000-square-foot lot.

Residential-6 zoning designations allow for higher density residential developments while residential-15 only allows for detached single-family homes.

The report states residential-6 designated zones permit single-family detached dwellings and duplexes, and allow townhouses, triplexes and quadraplexes as conditional uses.

According to Sumter's 2030 Comprehensive Plan, McGregor said this planning area supports mixed-use developments.

"We feel like it's a good infill project," said Rocky Knowlton, a representative of Knowlton Properties. "We've looked at this site for a while, and we feel like it's a good site for what we're looking to put there."

Infill projects are developments that are made on vacant or undeveloped lots that are surrounded by existing developments.

Knowlton said there could be between 80 to 110 units built on the property depending on the green space requirement.

Public hearing: Two city residents who live on roads surrounding the property asked if fencing would be built or if some of the existing trees would be left to create a barrier and if any changes to roads would be required with the developments.

The applicant has not submitted a site layout, McGregor said, so planning staff does not know the number of units or where street access will be.

Those factors are important to a site review, he said, and the site plan will determine if a traffic study is required. The surrounding properties will also be considered in approval for the site layout, he said.

Discussion: None

Vote: Unanimous approval

Annexation considered for potential development site

Reading: First of two

Agenda item: An ordinance to annex 21.76 acres of land located at 2135 W. Oakland Ave. from the county to the city.

Background: The subject property, located 400 feet west of the intersection of West Oakland Avenue and Lynam Road, is adjacent to properties already within the city on its southern and western sides.

Discussion: None

Vote: Unanimous approval

CDBG grant gets first reading

Reading: First of two

Agenda item: An ordinance to adopt the Community Development Block Grant entitlement budget for fiscal year 2019-20.

Background: CDBG grants are given to communities by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the development of suitable living environments and the expansion of economic opportunities, especially in neighborhoods that are considered low- to moderate-income.

This year, HUD allocated $297,301 to the city, which has been divided among six projects.

Projects for fiscal 2019-20 include: $59,460 for administrative efforts to manage the projects; $30,000 for demolition projects; $138,895 for housing repair; $41,946 for youth employment; $2,500 for YMCA youth services; and $24,500 for Sumter United Ministries.

City Manager Deron McCormick said the city has held multiple public meetings, a public hearing in October and a workshop prior to Tuesday's meeting.

Discussion: None

Vote: Unanimous approval

Drain project to assist neighborhood

Reading: Resolution, only one reading required

Agenda item: A resolution to authorize a contract for the Sunway Knolls Storm Drain Relocation Project.

Background: B&B Construction Co. Inc. of Sumter was selected for the project based on its low bid of $428,135 among eight bidders from Sumter, Pinewood, Charleston and Lexington, Assistant City Manager Al Harris said.

"This is an area where we had a lot of flooding, especially during the 2015 flood," he said about the project location.

This project will add to the existing system by adding another main drain line down Clematis Trail and Rolling Hill Lane, according to Harris and the procurement resolution.

"We'll be replacing lines as we go," he said, "and installing new lines along Clematis Trail until we intersect with the existing line close to Sparkleberry Lane."

There will be two functioning lines when the project is complete, he said.

This contractor did a similar project on Hampton Avenue in the historic district, Harris said, and knows what is needed to accommodate the public in the area around the project.

Discussion: Councilman David Merchant asked that Harris stress to the contractor that the people in that area have already been through tough times.

Harris said public works will be working with the contractors and spending time with the people in the area because the project will be an inconvenience because the road will be gone.

"We, along with the contractor, will try to accommodate the public in every way we possibly can as we work through this project," he said.

Vote: Unanimous approval