When Chimney Hill subdivision in Columbia County was developed in the late 1980s and early '90s, people who bought houses there thought they were moving to the country.
There were woods and fields, few stores and little traffic along that section of Washington Road west of Belair Road.
Bob and Paula Rountree, two of the first residents, used to walk in the woods and fields beyond the end of their dead-end street and see deer and wild turkeys. Those woods have since been developed as Northwoods subdivision.
And with the residential growth has come the inevitable - commercial and retail development. Fast-food restaurants, gasoline stations, banks and grocery stores followed the westward migration along Washington Road.
A Wal-Mart Superstore now under construction just east of Chimney Hill has been the focal point of controversy over this sort of development.
Some residents, especially those directly behind the store, say the Wal-Mart will cause traffic jams, trouble getting out of the subdivision and other problems when it opens during the first quarter of next year.
"I think Washington Road is eventually going to look like it does east of here all the way to Lincolnton," said Anthony Gancasz, the president of the Chimney Hill neighborhood association whose house is directly behind the store. "It wasn't a safe road before, and now it's going to be even more dangerous."
Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228. or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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