Big South Carolina Project Planned

Despite a slow economy and a glut of idle golf courses along South Carolina’s fabled “Grand Strand,” the Palmetto State may be adding another large-scale golf community to its inventory of high-end facilities. In October 2001, developer Burroughs & Chapin was in the permit process for its Green Diamond Community, a massive project along the Congaree River that will have an impact on several nearby towns.

The 4,400-acre project involves thousands of homes as well as “several” golf courses, nature trails, shops, a central village, and a technology park. The proposed site in Richland County borders several towns. To mitigate the strain on the services caused by Green Diamond on the neighboring towns of Arthurtown, Eastway Park, Bluff Estates, Little Cambden and Taylors, Burroughs & Chapin has offered to spend $10.75 million for needed infrastructural upgrades. The money would come from revenues generated by an as-yet-to-be-built multicounty business park.

The company has also asked the Richland County Council to advance $80 million of the projected fee-in-lieu-of-taxes revenue projected from the business park for other items. These include $55 million to upgrade levees and the infrastructure for the business park, and $14 million for a special account to be used as incentives to get businesses to relocate to the business park. This is a bone of contention for some residents, who don’t feel a developer should be allowed to make improvements to privately funded projects using public funds, particularly funds which have not yet been generated.

The Richland County Planning Department is reviewing the master plan, as well as Burroughs & Chapin’s financial propositions, which involve using no existing county taxes for the project. Further public reviews and hearings will be held before the Green Diamond Community is approved by the county.