The Edgefield County Steering Committee held a public hearing Feb. 12 at the County Council Chambers to discuss the Comprehensive Land Use and Transportation Plan. Committee members Fay Adams, George Thornton, John Pettigrew, James Johnson, and Fab Burt were in attendance as well as nearly 2 dozen citizens to hear John Ford and Joh Vanderpluym of Robert and Company present a light overview of the plan, accompanying maps, and any changes that had been made. Speaking of the plan, Ford reminded the Committee, “It’s your effort to determine how you’d like to see the county grow.”
Future land use around Mt. Vintage and along Sweetwater Road garnered most of the discussion. Pettigrew expressed concerns of the Plan being too restrictive in that area. He said that it went “way too far” with government telling people what they can do with their property. Ford reminded that the Plan just gives averages, in regard to acreage, and that any specifics would be dealt with by future zoning. It was noted, however, that any future zoning would have to be compatible with the Plan. Ford also stated that the allotted numbers of acreage were to help maintain the character of the area which is not intended for high density living. The overwhelming consensus among the nearly half a dozen people who spoke was in favor of the restrictions recommended by the Plan. Residents from that area again and again repeated their desire to maintain the rural feel of the area and their desire to not see this area become a high density housing area. County Planner Kevin Singletary noted the possibility of extending the Plan’s restrictions along Sweetwater to Jeter. Pettigrew questioned if there was land south on Hwy 25 that could be designated for industrial development. Ford answered that no land large enough to accommodate this could be identified in that area. Ford did say, though, that with the existing commercial properties already in this area, there is the possibility of some light industrial development in that area. Singletary commented that Hwy 25 South is the best potential for high density living and that to sacrifice that for industrial growth would “push back” some of the residential growth in that area. He said that the best location for industry is the industrial park.
In regards to the transportation aspect of the Plan, it was noted that the proposed Mealing Road Extension has been removed from the Plan. The only proposed possible future extension remaining is from Bettis Academy Road to Sweetwater Road. Linda Anderson voiced concerns over this proposed extension noting that the County has already had to raise the Road Maintenance Fee because it could not afford to care for the roads currently in the system. She said that, aside from the cost to build a new road, a new road would add more stress on the County to fund its maintenance. She proposed using existing roads to make the connection since they are already in the County’s maintenance system.
Two members from County Council, Chairman Scott Cooper and Art Biggs, were in attendance and both spoke at the hearing. Cooper expressed that his “main goals” are to see private property rights and individual liberty protected. Biggs, who is the County’s representative on the Planning Commission, spoke in favor of the Plan saying that he “totally supports” it.
Before the meeting drew to a close, Committee member Johnson reminded that citizens can contact their district’s representative on the board at anytime and encouraged them to do so before these “big meetings”. It was also noted that citizens may contact the Planning Department at anytime as well.
The Comprehensive Land Use and Transportation Plan is scheduled to be voted on by the Planning Commission at their Mar. 14 meeting. If it passes, it will then be sent to County Council for final approval.