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Cato rezoning gets initial approval

The York County Council on Monday gave its unanimous initial approval for the rezoning of 360.5 acres for the development of property that formerly held the Charlotte Knights baseball stadium.
The council will hold a public hearing Jan. 19, after which it will take the second of three votes required for approval. The third reading is expected to be Feb. 1.
Public hearings are usually held during the first reading, but county Planning Director Audra Miller said in December that the planning staff wanted to delay the hearing to address council members’ comments and questions about such a large project before the public hearing. The Planning Commission voted Dec. 14 to recommend that the council approve the rezoning request.
The development would be built on land owned by Charlotte-based clothing manufacturer Cato Corp. Charlotte-based Lincoln Harris, a commercial property developer, manager and brokerage company, would be the developer and property manager.
“This is the largest project we’ve seen since, I think, 2008,” said Stephen Allen, York County’s planning services manager. At that time, Crescent Resources and Allison Creek Partners sought to develop 2,300 acres near Lake Wylie before the recession ended those plans.
Lincoln Harris and Cato Corp. requested the rezoning under the name Fort Mill Land Development LLC in early November. The property is south of the South Carolina State line off Interstate 77.
The land has four zoning designations: agricultural; business development, which permits automotive, entertainment, sports and other uses; urban development, which allows various residential and business uses; and planned development.
According to the county, the only structures on the land are a vacant house and the Lifepointe Christian Church, along with parking lots.
The rezoning the developers are seeking is planned development, which provides more flexible development standards in order to create a more cohesive and higher quality development, said Allen.
Plans for the site include 4 million square feet of office space; 300 residential units that would be a mix of apartments and townhomes; 100,000 square feet of retail space; and a 150-room hotel, said Tracy Dodson, Lincoln Harris’ vice president of development, in November.
But because the county is concerned about traffic at the Gold Hill Road interchange on I-77, the developers have agreed to limit the first phase of construction. After improvements are made to the interchange — slated to be finished in 2018 — the county will restudy the traffic implications of any further development to determine whether any other road improvements are necessary.
Cato Corp. originally intended to build a distribution center when the clothing retailer bought the property in 2012, but the company decided it had greater potential as a mixed-use development, John Howe, Cato Corp. CFO, said in November.
Cato Corp. bought 185 acres south of Rock Hill on which it may build the distribution center.
The Charlotte Knights Stadium was torn down in 2015. The team played on the site in South Carolina from 1990 until it moved to BB&T Ballpark in uptown in 2014.

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