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Several large developments in the region are being scrapped or changed after people in the community stood up and said "no".LEXINGTON, S.C. — Ninety-three acres of prime property on Lake Murray will remain vacant for now.The Town of Lexington had hoped to turn it into a lakeside resort community until the property owners pulled out....
Several large developments in the region are being scrapped or changed after people in the community stood up and said "no".
LEXINGTON, S.C. — Ninety-three acres of prime property on Lake Murray will remain vacant for now.
The Town of Lexington had hoped to turn it into a lakeside resort community until the property owners pulled out.
It comes one week after residents raised concerns over the development.
Local leaders got an earful at several meetings from some who said they didn't want it, fearing congestion and overdevelopment.
"I've never seen that. We had that kind of public input one time around over hospitality taxes but never had it around for development," said town councilman Todd Carnes. "I was surprised that they (the property owners, Lexington County and Town of Lexington) totally pulled the project."
George Bulwinkel, the attorney representing the property owners, said in a statement, "Regrettably, the annexation and zoning process has overshadowed the thoughtful plans that would have opened up community access to this beautiful location."
The Smallwood project is the latest example of a significant development in the region being scrapped or changed after some in the community stood up and opposed it.
Earlier this year, community members stopped 100 homes from being built in Calhoun County.
In Columbia, apartment developments along River Drive and the Kilbourne Neighborhood were scaled down after blowback from the community.
"For as long as I've been in the real estate industry in long before that public opposition to new development has been a part of the process," said Clemson real estate development professor Dustin Read.
He said "resident engagement" can be an essential check against development residents feel isn't in their best interest.
"Ultimately, we're trying to try and craft areas where people want to stay and live and raise their families and work and can contribute. So public input is extraordinarily important," said Read.
However, he added it's important for residents to remember the good things development can produce -- like tax revenue, diversity in the population, and economic development.
"All those things are great, so you hope that public officials are thinking through all those positive effects of development as well as the concerns of citizens whenever development proposals are put forth," said Read.
Elected officials like Carnes say balancing growth with residents' concerns is difficult.
"We just need to be better on the front-end communication of either saying this is just a cursory draft proposal, or we need something a lot more firm before we even get it in the public sphere," said Carnes.
Previous Smallwood Cove appears to be dead.The Town of Lexington announced late in the afternoon July 19 that the parties who own the land for the proposed lakefront resort near Lake Murray, set to encompass nearly 94 acres, have withdrawn their consideration to annex all parcels along with their application for zoning and a proposed development ...
Smallwood Cove appears to be dead.
The Town of Lexington announced late in the afternoon July 19 that the parties who own the land for the proposed lakefront resort near Lake Murray, set to encompass nearly 94 acres, have withdrawn their consideration to annex all parcels along with their application for zoning and a proposed development agreement.
“As a result, the previously submitted proposal will receive no further consideration from the Planning Commission or Lexington Town Council,” the release states.
A provided letter from lawyer Greg Bullwinkel, representing Kendrick Cove, LLC; Edisto Cove, LLC; Smallwood Cove, LLC; and Kendrick Cove II, LLC; confirms the entities have withdrawn from the applications and agreements related to the project.
"The landowner has enjoyed Lake Murray for more than 80 years and only wants the best for the community,” Bullwinkel said in a provided statement. “Regrettably, the annexation and zoning process has overshadowed the thoughtful plans that would have opened up community access to this beautiful location. My client has elected to withdraw annexation and rezoning efforts at this time."
The development was set to occupy a spot off North Lake Drive just south of the Lake Murray Dam on the Lexington side of the reservoir.
“We certainly were open to trying to see if there was a project that would meet the owners desires and needs as well as provide a benefit to the town in the construct of also being responsible in the development,” Council Member Todd Lyle said. “We were initially presented with something that was far above and beyond what we could stomach and we were hoping that we could work together and come somewhere in the middle.”
Lyle told the Chronicle that it looks like the property owners reacted very aggressively with the full withdrawal of consent.
“That seemed to be a little bit of punitive anger,” he said. “At least that's the tone I got out of it. Which is unfortunate, because it really could have been a good project."
Council Member Todd Carnes echoed Lyle, saying there are no further steps for the town to take to get the project going again unless the property owners again request annexation.
Council Member Gavin Smith, who won election the day after the project's announcement, told the Chronicle that he is disappointed in how this was handled by Town Council and that it has been eye opening as a new member. He added that he first became aware of the project after his election.
“We are elected to put the best interests of the people first, to be good stewards of their tax dollars, their resources, and I don't feel as though those resources and those dollars have been put to the best use,” he said. “So moving forward, I hope that we as council can learn from this experience and work together to ensure that the taxpayers' resources and dollars can best be used in the future so that we can work together for the best outcomes of the community.”
Council Member Ron Williams expressed disappointment that the town and the property owners couldn't "create a solution that would have been enjoyed and supported by all of Lexington."
Backlash against the project was intense and immediate after it was announced at a Town Council meeting in early May, at which Mayor Steve MacDougall calling it the largest development Lexington would ever see.
The mayor didn’t immediately respond to the Chronicle’s request for comment.
Many in the area expressed concern over the potential impacts from the project, which was set to bring a marina, retail spaces, hotels, restaurants, living spaces and a conference center for which the town would have kicked in $30 million.
According to Lyle, the town will have to figure out what to do regarding the conference center, mentioning that $16 million allocated from the state was designated for a meeting space.
Lyle said that if the money is not used for that it must be returned to the state.
Key among the public concerns with Smallwood Cove was traffic, with Town Council having recently approved a new traffic study for the area to address roadways some said should have been included in a previous traffic study commissioned by the property owners.
The uproar over the development led to an unprecedented joint work session last week between Town Council and Lexington County Council, where the two bodies discussed numerous issues with the project, including traffic, the legality of annexing property non-contiguous to the town and the environmental impact to the lake.
A key group organizing residents disgruntled by the project was Develop Lexington County Responsibly, which circulated a petition pushing for transparency about the project and the impact it would have and rallied members of the public to attend meetings covering aspects of the Small Cove development.
In a statement provided to the Chronicle, the group gave credit to Town and County Council members for listening to citizens’ concerns and to citizens for making their voices heard.
“One positive development that has come out of this is the Town Council and County Council have started an open dialogue by holding the first ever joint work session,” the group said. “With increased development it is imperative that our town councils work together with our county council to protect our home in Lexington county from overdevelopment.”
“It is important for citizens to speak up,” the group added, calling the outcome “proof that when we collectively work together our voices can be heard for the betterment of our communities, infrastructure, and future.”
This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.
lake murary development, lakefront resort, smallwood cove, mayor steve macdougall, columbia business
South Carolina’s largest United Methodist Church and two others in Lexington County are no longer affiliated with the denomination.On June 6, at its 2023 Annual Conference, the South Carolina Conference for the United Methodist denomination approved the departure of Mt. Horeb (1205 Old Cherokee Rd. in Lexington), Chapin UMC (415 Lexington Ave.), Pond Branch UMC (1913 Pond Branch Rd. in Gilbert), as well as Rehoboth UMC (located at 939 Holley Ferry Rd. in Leesville, just over the Saluda County line).Statewide, the conferen...
South Carolina’s largest United Methodist Church and two others in Lexington County are no longer affiliated with the denomination.
On June 6, at its 2023 Annual Conference, the South Carolina Conference for the United Methodist denomination approved the departure of Mt. Horeb (1205 Old Cherokee Rd. in Lexington), Chapin UMC (415 Lexington Ave.), Pond Branch UMC (1913 Pond Branch Rd. in Gilbert), as well as Rehoboth UMC (located at 939 Holley Ferry Rd. in Leesville, just over the Saluda County line).
Statewide, the conference approved a total of 113 churches' departure from the denomination.
The Chronicle recently became aware of Rehoboth UMC’s departure. According to a Facebook post, the church had 72 of its 177 members participate vote in the vote to leave, with 52 voting to depart.
Pond Branch voted unanimously to leave, while Mt. Horeb and Chapin UMC were nearly unanimous in their votes.
“I believe this was the right decision for the long-term best interest of our church and I hope you concur with that,” said Pond Branch Pastor Drew Martin in a Facebook post.” A lot of work went into the process of getting us ready to take that vote.”
Both Mt. Horeb and Pond Branch listed issues related to sexuality among the reasons for their departure, with Mt. Horeb emphasized that marriage is between a man and a woman and Pond Branch emphasized that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings.
“We believe in celibacy in singleness and fidelity in marriage, with marriage being defined between a man and woman,” Mt. Horeb’s discernment guide reads. “Mt. Horeb relies on the Scriptures and what orthodox Christians have always believed about God to guide all matters of human relations, including sexual ethics.”
Caroline Fogle, director of communications for Chapin UMC, shared that while issues surrounding human sexuality are capturing headlines, there are far greater issues dividing denominations in terms of scriptural authority.
Churches that have completed the discernment process are no longer affiliated with the UMC and can remain independent or choose to affiliate with a new denomination. — KK
As pushback continues from some parts of the community in response to a proposed lakefront resort, Lexington Town Council is considering a new traffic study of the area.
At its regular June 12 work session, the council moved an item calling for a new traffic study for the area around the 93.53-acre Smallwood Cove development onto the agenda for its regular meeting on July 10.
If approved, the new study will be conducted by Bowman, an engineering and consulting firm out of Charleston.
Mayor Pro-tem Hazel Livingston said buildout for the development is scheduled for 2027, adding that this needs to be made clear to the firm’s traffic engineers and anyone else involved.
The council discussed that the scope of the traffic study is still unknown, mentioning a meeting with the firm is likely.
At a special called meeting held May 30, many residents presented concerns as to why Corley Mill Road, which connects North Lake Drive to Sunset Boulevard, and the intersection between North Lake Drive and Sunset Boulevard coming into the heart of Lexington weren’t included in an initial traffic study, conducted before the project was announced at a council meeting last month.
The original study was commissioned by the property owners and included Andrew Corley Road, which sits past Beekeeper Court., and Pilgrim Church Road, which sits past Andrew Corley Road and turns into Old Cherokee Road. Smallwood Cove is set to be located off Beekeeper Court and North Lake Drive.
Pushback from many residents has been continuous since the development was announced, who mention concerns about traffic, over-development and parking.
The latest evidence of this resistance comes in the form of multiple billboards along major local thoroughfares U.S. Highway 378 and U.S. Highway 1 and near the Lake Murray Dam, close to where Smallwood Cove is to be built.
The billboards — which read, “Got traffic? STOP NORTH LAKE ANNEX” — went active June 12. — KK
A local chicken wing chain is looking to expand to five locations, including one in Irmo.
Peebles, which started with a location on Rosewood Drive in Columbia and expanded with a second location in the city’s Vista neighborhood in 2022, is set to open the first of the new locations at 10708 Broad River Rd. in Irmo, the Post and Courier Columbia’s Mike Fitts reports.
“The restaurants will have variations on their menus from place to place, with the Irmo location having seafood dishes such as catfish and crawfish, while the Five Points location will have barbecue,” Fitts writes.
The chain hopes to open a location in Columbia’s Five Points by August and another in Camden before the year is out.
The spot Peebles is moving into in Irmo, located just past the intersection where U.S. Highway 176/Broad River Road splits off from U.S. Highway 76/Dutch Fork Rd., was previously occupied by Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant, which closed in 2022. — JL
lake murray resort, smallwood cove lexington, sc united methodist church, south carolina umc
LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - The Lexington Town Council has started to take steps to approve a destination resort community at Lake Murray.Officials said private developers are expected to invest more than $733 million into the project.“This is going to create a one-of-a-kind destination on the lake and I want to thank everyone involved in getting things to this point. To say we are excited would be an understatement,” said MacDougall.Officials said the current property, known as Smallwood Cove, is located off Bee...
LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - The Lexington Town Council has started to take steps to approve a destination resort community at Lake Murray.
Officials said private developers are expected to invest more than $733 million into the project.
“This is going to create a one-of-a-kind destination on the lake and I want to thank everyone involved in getting things to this point. To say we are excited would be an understatement,” said MacDougall.
Officials said the current property, known as Smallwood Cove, is located off Beekeeper Court and North Lake Drive. The proposed development includes a marina, two hotels, retail space, and restaurants, as well as 1,100 private residential units across townhomes, and condos.
There will be five acres of land donated to the Town of Lexington to build a regional conference center, the first of its kind on Lake Murray. Mayor MacDougall said the complex will be 50,000 sq. ft. and finish completion in 2028.
The State of South Carolina has already given the Town of Lexington $6 million for the conference center.
Smallwood Cove will be a public/private economic development partnership that will create destination tourism for Lexington County and provide access to the premier lakefront property.
When the resort community is completed, it will generate substantial tax revenue and economic benefits for the state and local community officials said.
400 tourism jobs are expected to be created after the completion of the resort.
“It will attract people from all other states to come in and visit South Carolina to have a conference here, on Lake Murray. That view that you get every afternoon on Lake Murray, looking over the big water. Yeah, it’s going to be what draws people to this area and this region. And everyone will benefit from this, not just the Town of Lexington. The entire county will benefit, Richland County will benefit, the City of Columbia will benefit. People will spread out when they come to this conference center,” concluded Mayor MacDougall.
A spokesperson for The Town of Lexington said the Smallwood Cove project will go to the planning commission next week.
Elected officials said a public hearing for the project is scheduled for June 12.
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A downtown Charleston women’s apparel retailer recently bought an adjacent building that once housed another clothing shop and now has a satellite operation on the upper peninsula as part of its expanded footprint.An affiliate of Hampden Clothing, owned by Stacy Smallwood, purchased the former Anne’s women’s clothing shop at 312 King St. for $3.25 million in November, according to Charleston County land records.It serves as an extension to Hampden’s flag...
A downtown Charleston women’s apparel retailer recently bought an adjacent building that once housed another clothing shop and now has a satellite operation on the upper peninsula as part of its expanded footprint.
An affiliate of Hampden Clothing, owned by Stacy Smallwood, purchased the former Anne’s women’s clothing shop at 312 King St. for $3.25 million in November, according to Charleston County land records.
It serves as an extension to Hampden’s flagship store at 314 King and its counterpart shoe store James next door.
The apparel store has been growing its presence on the peninsula in recent years. It now occupies more than 10,000 square feet of retail space on middle King, including Small by Hampden at 324 King.
The retailer also recently leased the former Barrie Newman Building at 747 Meeting St., according to the commercial real estate firm NAI Charleston.
The retailer will use the 7,200-square-foot rental space as an e-commerce and distribution office to focus on the company’s growing online business. Special events, such as partnerships with brands, also are planned at the site for shoppers.
The newly leased property in the area called NoMo, for North Morrison, backs up to the planned Lowcountry Lowline linear park that will run along the peninsula’s spine. The site also is close to Interstate 26 and offers on-site, off-street parking.
“The iconic building is a perfect fit for the internationally recognized boutique,” said Sarah Shelley, of NAI Charleston, who represented Hampden Clothing LLC as the tenant.
Jack Owens, also of NAI Charleston, represented the building owner, AD Meeting LLC, which paid $2.25 million for the property in December 2020, according to land records.
A new dessert-type eatery is in the works for West Ashley.
Big Dough Daddy LLC recently leased 1,581 square feet at 3863 West Ashley Circle, off Bees Ferry Road, according to the commercial real estate firms Avison Young and Bridge Corporate Solutions.
The venture will be called Cookie Dough Bliss & Creamery and will offer cookies, cookie dough, ice cream and other treats, according to owner Jason Keyser of West Ashley.
An opening is tentatively planned for April or May. His partner, Kitty McDowell, will be the general manager. She previously worked at the creamery’s location in North Carolina.
The Concord, N.C.-based company has 11 locations in eight states. The West Ashley site will be its first in South Carolina.
A five-building commercial complex is the newest proposal for a developing area in Cainhoy.
The planned Foundation Place at Point Hope on Clements Ferry Road north of the Publix-anchored Point Hope Commons Shopping Center will include 38,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space on about 4.5 acres.
Plans call for 22,000 square feet of office, retail and fast-casual restaurant space, including a coffee shop with a drive-thru, as well as a 16,000-square-foot, two-story medical office building, according to site plans.
Three buildings are slated to be 6,000 square feet each while another with the drive-thru window will be 4,000 square feet.
The developer is listed as Vulcan Property Group of Fort Mill, which is building the new 25,000-square-foot Serendipity Labs co-working structure in Nexton in Summerville. The co-working space is expected to open during the summer.
The Charleston franchise owner of a new Chicago-based fitness firm is planning four more locations across the Lowcountry after launching his first operation earlier this month in southern Mount Pleasant.
Franchisee John Youngblood said he plans to open Spenga fitness sites in northern Mount Pleasant, James Island, the Summerville area and West Ashley. Specific locations and opening schedules have not been determined.
Youngblood opened the initial Spenga site in a 4,000-square-foot space at 996 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. in the Publix-anchored Queensborough Shopping Center in Mount Pleasant on Jan. 8. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Jan. 18.
Spenga combines spin, strength training and yoga.