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Angry Neighbors Disrupt Basketball Academy's Housing Plans

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Anderson Independent-Mail (South Carolina)

 

The founder of a basketball academy said Thursday he may abandon plans to house high school players from across the U.S. and overseas at a residential property on Concord Road.

Mike Rawson, CEO of 22ft Academy, said he will probably look elsewhere for student living quarters because of fierce opposition from neighbors and the cost of needed renovations at the home and two other buildings that he bought last summer for $440,000.

"If we can't get this figured out, we won't stay," Rawson said.

Rawson spoke after the Anderson County Land Use and Zoning Board of Appeals tabled his request for a special exception to house at least 24 players on the property.

Hubert McClure, the board's chairman, said the panel's members needed more information before making a final decision on Rawson's request.

About 70 people, mostly irate residents from nearby upscale subdivisions, packed into the conference room at the Anderson County Courthouse Annex where the meeting was held.

The residents complained that their property values could fall if the county allows Rawson's for-profit academy to create what they said amounts to a dormitory. They also said that students who lived on the property during the past school year created a traffic hazard when they walked along Concord Road.

Resident Allison Teal said she was concerned that the academy's players could pose a threat to her 17-year-old daughter.

"What stops them from walking into my yard and keeps them away from my child?" she asked.

Many of the residents at Thursday's meeting also came to an advisory board meeting on Wednesday night where the academy's request for a special exception was discussed. Anderson County Councilman Tom Allen, who represents the district where the residents live, voiced his support for them at both meetings.

Rawson said his academy has helped 300 students obtain college scholarships in the past decade. The students who lived on his property last year attended Anderson Christian School and practiced basketball at gyms in Anderson and at Bob Jones University in Greenville.

He also said 22ft Academy spent $100,000 buying food at local grocery stores.

"We are a very big family," Rawson said during Thursday's meeting. "We want to live here and make it our home."

But by the time the meeting ended he appeared to have a change of heart.

Follow Kirk Brown on Twitter @KirkBrown_AIM

 

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June 12, 2017
 
 
 

 

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