Planning staff recommends approval of lots at former racquet club
The Georgetown County planning staff is recommending approval of a request to create new residential lots from the vacant courts at the former Litchfield Racquet Club. The Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the request Oct. 17. Three other requests to change the “planned development” zoning at the site were submitted this year. Each was withdrawn before a hearing could be held.
The current plan from Ameri-Built Homes calls for 19 single-family lots in the place of 17 empty clay courts. At 10,000 square feet, the lots are more than twice the size of 32 lots proposed for the 8.5 acres in June.
The property is owned by Founders National Golf, which closed the racquet club on Halloween in 2018. A change from tennis courts to another use requires zoning approval from Georgetown County.
The planning staff says the net density of 4.4 units an acre for the racquet club is compatible with the medium-density development nearby. “High density is no longer proposed for this tract,” the report notes.
The proposed development includes 1.36 acres of upland open space and two walking trails. That creates “useable open space” that the planning staff cites along with wetland buffers in its recommendation for approval.
In March, Trey Smith proposed 108 one-bedroom condos in nine buildings. He withdrew that plan and submitted one calling for 32 lots of 4,600 square feet, a smaller area than the county allows in its zoning ordinance. Smith withdrew that plan.
Ameri-Built Homes entered into a contract to buy the tennis courts. The Myrtle Beach company is building 14 duplex units on an adjacent tract that is also part of the racquet club “planned development” zoning district.
Ameri-Built also submitted a plan for 32 lots, then withdrew it when county planning staff said they would recommend that a traffic study be required before the Planning Commission voted on the rezoning request.
The planning staff considered traffic from the 19-lot development. It compared the number of trips per day from single-family development and the commercial space in the former tennis clubhouse (293) to the number of trips that the racquet club would have generated (279). Adding the traffic from the duplexes to the new development totals 377 trips per day, not enough to require a traffic study, according to the staff report.
The same argument was made by ASI Engineers, which prepared the development plan. It claimed that eliminating the 17 tennis courts will cut traffic at the development by 234 trips a day. But the planning staff noted previously that since the racquet club is closed, the courts aren’t generating any traffic.
The Planning Commission will meet Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in County Council chambers to review the request.