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Rock Hill Planning Commission recommends affordable-housing rezoning

The Rock Hill Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend that the City Council approve a developer’s rezoning petition to build 72 affordable-housing apartments at the site of the former Midtown Apartments.

Under the proposal, Genesis Place LLC would build one-, two-, and three-bedroom units in nine buildings. Each of the two-story buildings would feature eight apartments with individual entrances and porches. The design of the project mimics the appearance of large single-family homes with multilevel roofs.

Site plans for Wilhurst Village include a community house with a laundry, computer room, exercise room, and kitchen.

The 12-acre site surrounding Rauch and Wilhurst streets has been largely vacant since 2011, when the city demolished the aging and crime-ridden Midtown Apartments. However, the roads and infrastructure from the former public-housing complex remain in place.

Genesis Place plans on leaving more than half of the property as open space.

“This is a beautiful addition to the community and is something that is much needed,” said Commission Member Gladys Robinson.

Commission Chair Thomas Roper agreed, saying that such a project might spark more redevelopment in the city.

Senior Planner Leah Youngblood told commission members that the developer’s proposal includes mechanisms to boost security, including an on-site manager, background checks on all prospective residents, and police access to security cameras. In addition, the Rock Hill Police Department has agreed to provide incident reports to the property management team. This will allow management to take corrective actions, including the initiation of eviction proceedings, if necessary.

In addition, Youngblood said, the developer has agreed to cover all liens and other amounts due on the property. That includes nearly $368,000 the city spent to raze the Midtown Apartments.

The city’s planning staff recommended approval of the petition, saying it was consistent with the city’s standards on density and design for multifamily projects. The overall density of the project is seven units per acre.

Genesis Place plans to apply for state tax credits that incentivize construction of affordable housing, city staff said.

The developer is seeking a rezoning to master-planned and single-family residential from the current designation of attached single-family residential.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the first of two petition readings at its June 27 meeting.

In a separate action, the commission deferred making a recommendation on a developer’s rezoning request to construct a commercial building on 3.5 acres bordered by Heckle Boulevard and Blake and Rhinehart streets.

The move came after several residents of the Flint Hill neighborhood voiced opposition to Deep Inc.’s proposal, citing concerns about increased traffic. Residents said they wanted the neighborhood to maintain its largely residential nature.

The commission voted unanimously to review the issue at its July 12 meeting after the developer and concerned parties agreed to meet in an effort to resolve the issues.

Deep Inc. is seeking a rezoning for limited commercial use. The property is currently zoned for general commercial and single-family residential use.

The city’s planning staff has recommended approval of the petition, saying it is consistent with future land use and area plans.

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