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150 new homes unlikely

Impact Fees are a stumbling block to continued STP Development / DR Horton Builders project, council is told


The City of Clinton is likely to lose out on 150 new homes proposed for an area near Eastside Elementary School because the city council will not waive impact fees for the under-construction subdivision.

Toby Davidson with STP Development asked for the waiver, to make the often-delayed project with DR Horton Builders economically viable, but no one of the council Monday night entered a waiver motion.

Council adopted Impact Fees this year to be paid by developers toward the additional costs of Police, Fire and Recreation. In this case, the issue is infrastructure, because the City has invested about $1.2 Million in building the Stone Creek Pump Station and re-habbing the Florida Street Pump Station, and installing force mains. It was in August 2021 that the Clinton Economic Development Corporation announced the sale of 75 acres on Robert Vance Drive to STP Development and DR Horton. Then, in September, 2022, the City Council discussed awarding a construction contract for the sewer system improvements. Davidson said he allowed the City to construct the lines across the property but said his investment has been damaged by persistent delays in the project.

From the back of the council chambers, after no motion was made to waive the new impact fees, a voice was heard saying that 150 proposed homes will not be built. (The meeting is viewable on the city’s Facebook page.) The project apparently will go forward with 100 homes, since streets and other infrastructure is in place. 

The 2021 announcement - coming just after the Covid pandemic - said DR Horton would construct 260 homes on 75 acres in what had been designated as the Clinton Park Corporate Center III, based on 7 models of 1,400 - 2,500 sq ft with sale prices in the $180,000 to $290,000 range.

The development was supposed to have a swimming pool and a clubhouse.

Now, there is little out there except trees-cleared dirt, rocks, and a few roads.

“I’ve been a good partner to y’all,” Davidson said.

However, the new expenses passed on by the City apparently are making the full project not economical. Davidson said he would just as soon go back to Greenville for future development, rather than stay in Clinton where he “took a gamble.”

City officials explained to the Council the expenses already incurred at the site. Mayor Randy Randall said he thought the Council needed more information, but added that members know that Impact Fees are designed to keep the taxpaying citizens who are here now from footing the entire bill for future development.

City Manager Tom Brooks has said there are 5-6 currently active subdivision plans looking at Clinton, and it is unsustainable for the City to pay all infrastructure, as well as police, fire, and recreation costs.

It was not publicly stated how much extra STP Development was being required to pay.

In other business at the July 1 meeting, council presented service awards, recognized retiring police officer Chris Moore (25 years), heard the city had received a prestigious water-treatment award, approved a lease-purchase agreement for vehicles, approved a forestry management policy for the Whitten Center property, received a 2023 fiscal year audit from Gary Bailey, tabled a motion to sell 2.07 acres of city-owned land (Forest Road), adopted on 2nd and final reading a solid waste disposal fees plan for debris placed at the curb, allowed a development on East Main Street to become a Planned Development District, and amended council members’ compensation and benefits plan related to a new healthcare offering.

The Clinton City Council normally meets the 1st Monday of each month — a called meeting is planned for July 16, council was reminded, and members were told that the Planning Commission will meet July 9 to consider annexation of the former Renfro manufacturing property on Springdale Drive. What is proposed for the building has not yet been announced.

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