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Public to have second chance to comment on TIEC plans

COLUMBUS — Polk County residents will have another opportunity to offer opinions on the development at the Tryon International Equestrian Center at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 16.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners called for a public hearing to consider amendments to the TIEC development agreement.

Commissioners postponed a decision last month to rezone sections of TIEC, which would have increased building heights for some hotels from 50 to 60 feet, as well as allowed some to have an unlimited amount of rooms.

Commissioners decided to go back to the development agreement following its March 19 meeting and set a public hearing on the changes.

The proposed amendments to the development agreement include providing for a maximum of 1,900 lodging units on the overall property.

The proposed amendments also include the extension of the development schedule by five years, and to require additional administrative approval for all Equestrian and Equestrian Village Districts to include documentation from the Polk County Emergency Management Director confirming adequate public safety facilities and services exist or can be provided.

The proposed amendments will also require that the developer provide rough grading ad leveling to support proper surface draining of the site for construction of the public safety facility.

TIEC and the county have agreed that TIEC will provide 2 acres and $250,000 to the county in order to construct a public safety facility near TIEC.

Polk County first entered into a development agreement with White Oak Development, which was foreclosed on and later purchased by Tryon Equestrian Properties LLC. The White Oak Development Agreement was approved in 2013.

The county and TIEC has approved one amendment to the development agreement, which was done on Nov. 16, 20015.

The development agreement provides that “large-scale development projects occur in multiple phases extending over a period of years, requiring a long-term commitment of both public and private resources.”

Polk commissioners delayed a decision on March 19 to rezone a few sections of TIEC following a public hearing that was standing room only. Most of the comments last month to commissioners were against the zoning changes.

Some of the zoning changes requested by TIEC included to add uses for a chapel, for a quarantine facility, schools and veterinary clinics.

Comments from the public included that the county continues to give TIEC what they want and that all other structures in the county are limited to 40-foot heights.

Commissioners took the decision to approve or disapprove of the zoning changes off the March agenda and decided to delay the decision until April 16. A public hearing on the development agreement was later scheduled.

The public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located on the second floor of the Womack Building in Columbus.