Council to consider $200,000 advance to PV fire department

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By Jenny Hartley

County Council could advance the Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department $200,000 to buy land for its new fire station.

The fire department has been looking for suitable land to build a new station, because the S.C. 160 widening project will eventually take the fire department’s existing station on the highway.

Merrifield Partners offered a different parcel of land on S.C. 160, but the fire department said it wouldn’t be suitable due to a deep gully.

Merrifield Partners, which is developing the Bailes Ridge business park on S.C. 160, will contribute the $200,000 to buy land on Possum Hollow Road, but can’t do it until November 2009 for tax purposes. So County Council may vote to advance the department $200,000, and Merrifield Partners pay the county back next year.

“The Pleasant Valley fire station will be the eastbound lane of 160,” said County Administrator Steve Willis. “We’ve got to get them moving.”

Funding for arts center

Council will discuss funding for The Artisan’s Center, a new nonprofit arts center on South Main Street in the former Badcock furniture building.

Lancaster City Council voted at its last meeting to approve $24,000 for operating costs for the center during its first year.

County Council will be asked to provide another $24,000 for the year.

The University of South Carolina at Lancaster was expected to pick up the $48,000 this year, but could not due to state budget cuts.

USCL will eventually hold art classes at the center, and it will house the college’s Catawba Indian pottery collection.

Arts classes for the public, such as painting, pottery, dance and guitar, are also planned for the center.

The funding issue will be up for discussion by County Council on Monday, not a vote.

Rezoning up for vote

Council is also slated to vote on second reading to rezone property for more houses at U.S. 521 and Collins Road.

U.S. Trust Properties wants to rezone 411 acres from R-15P to planned development district (PDD). The rezoning will allow the developers to build 2.36 homes per acre, increasing the density by 200 homes.

In total, the development, if approved, will have 350 single-family homes, 510 multi-family homes, 750,000 square feet of retail and office space and 150,000 square feet of medical/hospital space.

The developers have proposed improvements to U.S. 521 and Collins Road.

The 411 acres is adjacent to properties owned by York Development, Argus and Inspiration Networks. Officials with those companies have discussed combining their properties into one large, uniform development.

Public hearings

Public hearings on the agenda include an infrastructure credit agreement with Lancaster County, Charged Properties LLC and ECN Industries Inc.; an installment-purchase plan for the construction of a new Lancaster County Courthouse; and an agreement for the development of a joint industrial park between Lancaster and Chester counties.

Council will also recognize the last Employee of the Quarter for 2008.

Council meets at 6 p.m. in chambers on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St., Lancaster.

Council will meet one more time, Dec. 1, before the end of the year.

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151