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Suncrest plans to build 235 townhomes by Sugar Creek

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Stephanie Jadrnicek
For The Lancaster News
A mixed-use development of 235 townhomes with open spaces for public and private recreational use is in the pipeline for the Panhandle.
At a recent public hearing, the Lancaster County Planning Commission recommended approval of Suncrest Real Estate and Land’s master plan for a 75-acre development along Sugar Creek.
Lancaster County Council will consider a resolution on the plan at its Jan. 28 meeting.
Located on the west side of Harrisburg Road, just south of Society Lane, the property is zoned industrial mixed use and lies in an area designated as neighborhood-mixed-use in the county’s 2014 Future Land Use Map.
According to the commission, this designation encourages forms, patterns and density of development that promote connectivity and walkability for residents and the community.
Lancaster County planning director Penelope Karagounis said an important aspect of the proposed development is a .75-mile trail connecting to the Carolina Thread Trail system, as well as a public parking facility to provide access to the new trail head.
“This is a really neat project because when the county rewrote the code, we put in some standards for properties that are developed into major subdivisions,” she said. “If the property is a part of the master plan for the Carolina Thread Trail, then the developer is responsible for building the trail.”
The Carolina Thread Trail is a nonprofit organization with a mission to lead the development of a 15-county regional trail and greenway network. It works in partnership with local partners, such as cities, towns, counties, developers and land trusts, to facilitate the development of the network.  
Previously, Lancaster County has applied for grants to fund the construction of trails. If approved, Suncrest’s development will mark the first project in Lancaster County where a developer builds the trail.
“Lancaster County is the only jurisdiction that I know of that specifically states the Carolina Thread Trail as a standalone provision for the development code,” Carolina Thread Trail director Bret Baronak said. “It is very forward thinking of the county to implement this type of provision. A trail system is not only created for the ‘here and now,’ but most importantly to serve as a legacy and to be enjoyed by future generations.”
Although the industrial mixed use zoning district allows a maximum density of 12 dwelling units per acre for attached structures, Suncrest is proposing a townhome density of four units per acre.
The plan also includes a retaining wall and natural vegetation to comprise an 80-foot-wide buffer along the northern property boundary.
The Planning Commission’s recommendation for approval comes with a few conditions: all road improvements are subject to S.C. Department of Transportation approval and must be completed by the developer and any changes to housing density or significant variations from the master plan will require amendments.
“(The developer) is preserving a lot of open space because of the wetlands and providing public and private recreational opportunities,” Karagounis said. “We just felt like this was a very unique type of new development for the Indian Land area.”