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Lan Yair project in fast lane

By Baker Maultsby | Staff Writer - Spartanburg Herald-Journal

A plan to develop on the Lan Yair Country Club property is "accelerating rapidly," according to a Charleston-based investor in the project.

Dennis Avery, a part owner of Dayton Street LLC, said Tuesday that he envisions a mix of houses and retail shops -- including at least one large national retailer currently under contract -- on the East Main Street property in the next four to six years.

While plans are still in the preliminary stage, the project -- to be called Easton Park -- could include between 425 and 700 new homes, according to a letter Avery sent to Spartanburg County School District 7 assistant superintendent Glenn Stiegman.

The Spartanburg city planning commission has identified the Lan Yair property as an area the city would like to annex, but no formal proposal is under consideration.

District 7 is a largely urban district with older neighborhoods. For years there has been little room in the district for new residential development, and in recent years its student population has been on the decline.

Easton Park could help fill a need for new housing in the district. "That's why this is appealing," said Lynn Batten, superintendent in District 7.

The project would also bring in about $1.3 million in taxes each year for the schools, according to Stiegman.

To accommodate the development, the business services subcommittee of the District 7 school board agreed on Tuesday to redraw school lines so that any new Easton homes would be located in the Jesse Boyd Elementary School attendance zone. The property is currently zoned for Houston Elementary School.

Avery said the request for the switch, which must be approved by the full board, was a practical matter. "It makes more sense in terms of access and safety," he said.

In 2003, Jesse Boyd was rated "good" by the state Education Oversight Committee. Houston's rating was "average."

Avery denied that the school ratings had anything to do with his request for Easton Park to be served by Jesse Boyd. "I live in Charleston, and Spartanburg has magnificent schools," he remarked.

Batten, meanwhile, said Jesse Boyd has more space than Houston to accommodate new students. Board member Chip Hurst said that because the proposed changes would only affect new residents, no current students would be transferred from one school to another.

Avery, who said he owns the golf course property with co-investor Josh Tumbleson, said he expects Easton Park to be a "high quality" development that will add to the quality of life on the east side.

He referred to the development as "a village," in which residents can walk or ride bikes to nearby shops and restaurants. He hopes to attract families and "active retired" people.

At this point, he said, plans do not call for the construction of apartments.

"We're hoping that the look and feel is more of urban infill character in keeping with the kind of quality that you see on the east side," Avery said.

"The east side, I think, is the prettiest side of Spartanburg, the most established. I think it demands special treatment."

Avery also said he's working with closely with county and city officials in the hope that "10 years from people can say, 'Wow, we thought it through.' "

Assistant county administrator Chris Story said Avery's group has not yet submitted formal plans to the county. Story noted that the project does fit the objectives of the county comprehensive development plan.

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Is that project pretty much in sync with the spirit of the older neighborhoods in the vicinity? I would assume that a lot of people would react if it is a development that takes away the character of the existing neighborhoods. Now, keep in mind that I am not familiar with the area; are the existing neighborhoods of historic value, or just old? Any renderings of this project?

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I haven't seen any renderings yet, but I will be sure to post them as soon as there are any.

The surrounding neighborhood is... well there isnt one really. There is basicly old growth from the 70s when Spartanburg was growing east and the west side of town was just farms and trees.

Lan-Yair (pronounced "Lan-Year") Country Club is really a stand alone piece of property in a way. It is borderd by a railroad to the north. A road and a few other peices of property to the east. East Main St. to the south and some other private property to the west.

This project essentially will be its own neighborhood as there are not any real neighbor hoods near it.

Click this link: Spartanburg

Ignore the star, thats just to get the map to show what I wanted it to.

You can see Lan-Yair Country Club in green.

The neighborhood to the SE is called Hillbrook, but it isn't really close to Lan-Yair.

Overall most people on the East side of town are in favor of this project.

The only thing that would be torn down is the pool house and the pro shop.

There is sort of an Eastside/Westside polarization in Spartanburg, and people on the Eastside generally like to see development on their side of town.

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I find that people are generally supportive of positive development such as this.

People protested the construction of the Eastside SupermegaWalkmart but that was becuase it literally borders a neighborhood and many houses and it had some rare trees on the proprty. Walkmart was forced to bulid a structurally pleaseing bulding with lots of sound barriers and a preservation for the 6 redwood trees.

Thats really the only time I can think of people actively against development... but that is more understandable.

So I guess the answer is no :)

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