EASLEY, SC (WSPA)–The City of Easley is making room for some major changes, including hundreds of new homes and commercial development along the Highway 153 corridor.
Easley officials said a developer has requested to annex 153 acres into the city.
“The 153 corridor is a very good project and now it’s opening up property to be annexed into the city. So, at the present time, we have two major annexations, totally approximately 153 acres. In that 153 acres, it will be single family homes. It will be townhomes and it will be a little spot of commercial development,” said Tommy Holcombe, Building Official for the City of Easley.
The first project is at Highway 153 extension and Saco Lowell Road.
“The first one is a project with 65 acres, and it will consist of multi-family use which are townhomes and or apartments, and then single family and then some feature use that they haven’t planned for yet,” Holcombe said. “And so that will be a big asset to the city of Easley,” he said. “The total homes is 286.”
The second project will have 93 acres.
“The next project, is approximately 93 acres. It will be homes also, with one little spot of commercial at the corner of the new 153 and Saluda Dam Road, and it will be approximately 275 lots for construction,” Holcombe said.
Vickie Farmer owns a hair salon business nearby, and believes the development could be good for her establishment.
“I’m a small business and I’m for development, because if you don’t have development, you’re stagnant and you don’t grow,” Farmer said “So, as long as it’s done, in the right way, and not just taking over, taking over, than I’m all for it,” she said. “I mean a little bit of the roundabout kind of hurt a little bit because people are trying to be careful and not hit anybody, but as far as building and things like that, it brings more people into the area and new people will be looking for someone to cut their hair,” Farmer said.
Holcombe said the new developments will include greenspace, walking trails, and sidewalks. Some residents aren’t so happy about the new developments in the area.
“I mean Easley is growing very fast, and I get that, but I just hate to see all the trees being torn down. You know nature being disrupted,” said Teddi Caldwell, a nearby resident.
Caldwell has lived in a nearby neighborhood for 25 years. Caldwell said the area was the reason she planted roots in her neighborhood.
“Loved this area because it was not so compacted, with houses and things, and we still do have some woods behind us, but we can hear traffic now, which is sad,” Caldwell said. “I know homes are needed but you just don’t know what’s going to come in here. You know, it’s been quiet here, you know all your neighbors and things like that. I’m just afraid of what’s that’s going to bring in,” she said.
“Well my main concern is infrastructure in the area. We are a small town, limited utilities,” said John Manly, a nearby resident. “I don’t mind growth. I think everywhere is going to grow, but it has to be controlled, and one of our main concerns here in Easley is that the growth is not very controlled and in line with our infrastructure,” Manly said.
Plans obtained from the city, show there will be infrastructure improvements. According to the document, infrastructure improvements will consist of rolled curb and gutter along roads, public water mains, public sewer mains, storm drainage, stormwater management areas, etc. Officials believe the will be able to handle the growth.
“We feel like we have the service to provide for them with our fire, police, our water, electric, and sewer,” Holcombe said.
Mayor Butch Womack also told 7-News, the city meets with the school district twice a year, along with the utility company monthly. Womack said both the school district and the utility company are on board with the resources they have.
Holcombe said these developments are the first of its kind along the extension and more could come.
“The benefit to the city of Easley, is the tax revenue it brings. That’s why in Pickens County, we’re one of the lowest tax base in the county, and we’re able to do that because of the growth we’ve had,” Holcombe said. “It also helps with jobs. The construction industry, and so we’re very glad that they decided to come to the city of Easley,” Holcombe said.
“We depend on the developers to know with housing being needed, they certainly wouldn’t build this type of subdivision if they hadn’t done the studies for the need,” Holcombe said.
Some residents said they are hopeful for the future.
“I hope that the people of Easley will begin to sort of look at our community and make sure that we hold our leaders responsible for the degree of growth, just to make sure we are not left with a problem,” Manly said.
Mayor Womack said city council will have a second and final reading on December 13th regarding the annexation. Holcombe said the developments would happen, whether it’s annexed into the city or not.
“It is in the process right now. It’s gone through the planning commission and it’s gone through the first reading of council. Next reading of council which will be the second Monday in December. If the council and mayor give approval at that moment, it will become a part of the city,” Holcombe said.