By Stan Welch
Interest in the Pelzer, West Pelzer and Williamston areas continues to grow. Recently, West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders met with Brad Skelton, of Red Oak Development and another developer to discuss the possible location of a housing development in the vicinity of the town.
The development, while not firmed up in its conformation would, according to the information sought from the county GIS office, include as many as ninety-five multiple family units, and additional 76 single family residences.
Unfortunately, the property lies just outside West Pelzer’s water and sewer coverage area. Mayor Sanders informed the developer that, short of annexation, they would have to work with Big Creek Water. “But I made it very clear to Mr. Skelton (the broker in charge for Red Oak) that we would be delighted to annex those properties and welcome them into our town”, said Sanders in a telephone interview with the Journal.
In the final weeks of 2020, the town of Williamston made a parcel of land available to a developer with the understanding that suitable housing would be located there. The agreement between the town and Scout Development would allow the construction of as many as sixty five homes, in the $199-$220 thousand dollars price range. The homes would be built on 32.7 acres of land owned by the town. Mayor Rockey Burgess said he is in discussions with the developer on the project.
A company only identified as X Inc., is also exploring an economic development opportunity in the town. The town recently looked at three small pieces of property that would be involved if that opportunity is pursued. The properties are located at the entrance to Town Square Center, at Pelzer Avenue where it meets Town Square Center and a strip of property located behind Town Square Center adjacent to a School District One ballfield.
The Town of Williamston also recently accepted ownership of four parcels of land that were cleared of decrepit or unsuitable housing under the Pride in Neighborhoods program overseen by the county. The Pelzer Heritage Commission acted as the non-profit pass through entity for those projects. The town must maintain the properties ; and if they are unable to sell them, they would be converted to green space, such as parks.
There has also been some interest in possible development of a microbrewery, retail space and restaurant on the site of the town’s old water treatment plant, however Burgess said the proposed project is uncertain with the death of Richard Greer, who was involved in the proposal.
The plans for the development of the Piedmont waterfront area continue to move ahead, highlighted by the announcement in December that Coldwell Banker Caine has joined with Red Oak Developers to market the project.
Greer, who was also involved in the project since its inception, passed away just weeks after announcing that the partnership was in place. Red Oak is now leading the project, which is an ambitious undertaking. Brad Skelton is the CEO and Broker in Charge of Red Oak.
The project will include three level townhomes. As well as modern mill village style homes, with larger homes situated on the river front and in areas with extraordinary vistas. Greer told The Journal that all brownfields and environmental concerns have been addressed and satisfied.
Greer was also very active in trying to secure a similar project for the Pelzer community.
Pelzer continues to take steps to prepare for growth.
Mayor Will Ragland told The Journal that town officials had met with county representatives just this Monday. “We are making good progress with bringing our building codes into line with the counties. We are also preparing some zoning ordinances to help ensure orderly growth, and to allow us to preserve the unique character our town. We are also exploring the possibility of business licenses down the road.”
He also mentioned that a new business is opening soon in the old locksmith shop. Called the Oak and Anvil, it will feature vintage furniture and antiques. The proprietor also crafts custom lighting fixtures. “The new owner is going to place a small mural on the end of the strip mall, while the town is planning to move the mural we have been pursuing to the Highway 20 end of the new Food Lion store. Their management is in agreement, and we are just waiting for the final go ahead.”