Many Chapin residents oppose a 240-unit apartment complex planned for the Lexington County town due to concerns about increased traffic and rising school enrollment.
Armada Development is asking Chapin officials to rezone land on Amicks Ferry Road near Broomstraw Road to allow construction of the complex. The company said in documents submitted to the city that it wanted to expand housing options in Chapin and grow the local economy.
The complex would be built on 13.62 acres and would include apartments and neighborhood business premises, according to documents. Land dedicated to commercial spaces would range from 10,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet.
Facilities at the resort would include a dog park, event space, playground and swimming pool, according to the documents. Plans call for around 600 parking spaces.
City officials say the review of the plan is in its early stages and the planning commission is waiting for the developer to submit the full formal proposal. After receipt, the planning commission and the promoter will decide whether or not to send the plans to the municipal council of Chapin, which has the final say.
Over 100 people attended a working session of the Chapin Planning Commission last week. Most of them seemed to oppose the project.
The main concern for most was increased traffic and more congestion. The developer will be required to provide a traffic impact study for the project, but the study was not delivered to the city this week, officials said.
“I think it’s a terrible idea. The infrastructure here alone cannot handle 240 units with 600 parking spaces,” said Chapin resident Gerard Del Prete.
Plans for rural Chapin are creating a bit of a strain for residents, according to Del Prete, because many of the people who live there are older or have retired. They want to get away from the busier streets and the city.
He compared apartments and commercial properties to his former home in Staten Island, New York.
“I left the city to get away from the city. I don’t want the city following me,” Del Prete said.
“Don’t do New York my Chapin, it’s as simple as that, I moved here to get away from it,” Del Prete said.
The 2020 census showed the population of Chapin increased by 25.2% between 2010 and 2020, to 1,809 people.
Another concern raised by residents is that the complex would increase schooling. Area schools include Piney Woods Elementary, Chapin Middle, Chapin Intermediate, and Chapin High. As of the 2021-2022 school year, Chapin High was up to 90% capacity, Chapin Middle was at 75.3%, Chapin Intermediate was at 85.2%, and Piney Woods Elementary was at 75.73% , according to Lexington-Richland 5.
“This proposed apartment complex could negatively impact all of District 5 as Chapin High School is already nearly full,” school board member Catherine Huddle wrote on Facebook.
Armada Development already has two projects in the Midlands. One is ‘Waters on Fairfield’ and the other is ‘Villages at Congaree Pointe’. The company’s website says it offers apartments for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.