This opinion is based on having followed events, words and actions. It is exhausting to peel back the layers to find truth. Citizens elect those they believe will best represent their interests. EC is on a course most citizens never expected and specifically stated they did not want to see. Words matter, more than we ever thought possible. June 4, 2019 simple changes made to the Comprehensive Plan took away densities from the zoning map and changed minimum lot sizes from two of the most utilized residential subdivisions. Subdivisions previously had minimum lot sizes at .50 acre. Suburban Residential changed from:”This category indicatessingle-family residential land uses and lots in a suburban scale subdivision pattern typical of development from the 1950’s to the 1990’s.” “Average lot size may vary from 1/2 acre to 2 or 3‐acre lots depending on sewer service or requirements for septic tank fields. To: “Natural conditions, connectivity to utilities, and the market are to determine lot sizes.”
The other was Estate Residential – This category features very low density single family residential development on large lots. The overall density of residential development is projected to be about one house on five acres. However, the minimum lot size in this land use area is assumed to be approximately two (2) acres in size to provide developers with flexibility in creating affordable home sites. To: However, the minimum lot size in this land use area may vary on the basis of suitable topography and access to utilities. It is assumed that some portions of this area may be developed at 0.5 units per acre (approximately two acres in lot size) or conditional higher densities where appropriate to provide developers with flexibility in creating affordable home sites.
Those simple changes ushered in 2 developments Windsor (445 townhomes) and Tavern Hill (212 townhomes) against the wishes of the citizenry. To the surprise of 2 council members, who voted against it, this was done on 3rd reading (after the public hearing on 2ndreading). This took away the right of the citizens to speak against it. While we recognize some of these developments are probably appropriate, this one action created a rush to put these developments anywhere in the County on as little as 10 acre parcels. The latest proposed is Coronet Drive subdivision (90 townhomes on 12.75 acres). This will sit in the middle of Springcrest subdivision with .60 + acre lots In partnership with the ECW&Sewer Authority, sewer lines are being run with taxpayer dollars. This allows higher density – more housing units. When the developer was asked had the wording not been changed would you have developed this subdivision, the answer was no. The citizenry is not against growth. It has been recognized, and expressed and what is desired is high quality planned growth that retains the rural nature of EC. Removing that minimum ½ acre lot does not. The latest information reveals that these PD subdivisions establish new customized zoning. There are also different approval processes than previously understood. Anyone who read Megan Pearson’s letter to the editor in the Advertiser will get a clearer picture of what has taken place. We were told the Comprehensive Plan change is a done deal. We now find that citizens can petition to have it changed if desired. So why was it necessary if developers could simply apply for a Planned Development anywhere in the County? It is time to turn back to preserve the uniqueness of Edgefield County It will require registered voters in Edgefield County to step forward and sign a petition. Go to www.merriwetherconnect.comand let us know you are willing.