LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - A Lancaster County neighborhood is fighting to keep a rodeo stadium and gas station from being built in their backyards.
This is happening in the Baker Place Road and Greenbriar Road neighborhood in Lancaster. The rodeo entrance would be right at the front yard of some people’s homes. They are not only concerned about the construction but also a whole list of problems it could bring.
The quiet around the Baker Place’s neighborhood could soon be cut by the noise of construction. The Lancaster County planning committee will hear from the property owner on Tuesday. He cannot build the rodeo without rezoning the land to allow residential homes and businesses in the area.
”It’s a very open neighborhood. It’s very peaceful it’s very quiet,” says Shaun Vincent, who has lived in the area on and off for more than 40 years.
The people living there though do not want that switch to happen. They say the construction could be the least of their problems. They worry about the increased traffic to the area especially on roads the county has not kept up. If the rodeo gets packed on a Friday or Saturday night, homeowners fear their lawns will become parking lots.
”If they start pushing that many people down into the neighborhood who knows what kind of traffic problem we will have,” Vincent.
Beyond traffic, neighbors are concerned property values could plummet and the old neighborhood’s sewer system could back up. The Lancaster County Sheriff worries about alcohol at the rodeo and how that could affect Baker’s Place.
”I absolutely believe that that type of construction could ruin the neighborhood,” says Vincent.
He fears his picturesque neighborhood will be anything but after the construction—overrun with traffic, lowered property values and increased noise. What made it worse for him was finding out about the rodeo from this sign in front of his street.
”We believe that any advantages to the county does not justify what it could potentially do to this neighborhood,” says Vincent.
The gas station, which is on five acres of the property owners land, would be at the front of Greenbriar Road, where it meets Flat Creek. Some neighbors in the area feel like the already busy road will get even more crowded. To add to that, people living at the corner of the two roads think more crashes will happen when people try to turn into the gas station.
Jimmy Baker, who lives in the area, says he has seen plenty of crashes right in front of his house before the gas station even gets in. He says he is concerned for the safety of drivers who have already had a difficult time getting into the neighborhood.
“Such a dangerous dangerous place to put more stop and go traffic,” says Baker.
There are some neighbors who are for the change. Lawson Knight, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1972, thinks having a rodeo would be very fun.
“I don’t see the problem with it,” says Knight.
Knight tells WBTV he thinks having the animals over there would be much better than having more houses. He also says the property owner has talked about letting people come over to ride horses at the equestrian stables. Knight says if the project goes through, he wants to take his granddaughter over there to ride.
“I hope it gets approved because if it does I will be the first person over there,” he says.
Knight also feels like the gas station would benefit the community tremendously. He says it takes time to get to the nearest gas station and it is a struggle to go all the way over there to get it. he feels having easier access to gas would make it easier on his neighbors.
“It’s about time we got something down this way. We don’t have anything down here,” he explains.
Lancaster County’s Development Service Director Rox Burhans says his office has gotten a few calls of concern from some neighbors hoping the rodeo and gas station project does not go through. While the meeting is Tuesday, he says the property owner still has a few hoops to jump through, including the “burden” of proving how he rodeo and gas station could benefit the community rather than the county.
”We put that burden on the applicant to help determine whether the county should approve or disapprove their request,” says Burhans.
The complaints are not falling on deaf ears though. Burhans says the planning committee does take complaints, and support, seriously.
”The planning committee and county council are very eager to hear from people so I encourage everyone to come out to those and express their opinions,” he says.
Vincent is already getting ready to give them his message.
”Please don’t let this come into our neighborhood. We believe this is not something that will help us,” says Vincent.
This decision does not just stop at the planning committee. The planning committee will make a recommendation on Tuesday. The planning committee’s staff have already recommended denying the request, but that does not mean it will happen.
The county council will make the final decision later.