From: Edgefield County Council
Date: February 17, 2021
On Thursday February 11, 2021 the Edgefield County Planning Commission held a Public Hearing on the current Land Management Ordinance (LMO) Draft, which was recommended by the LMO Steering Committee last spring. The LMO Steering Committee consisted of the previous Planning Commission, the planning consultant hired by the County, and members of the public.
The public meeting last Thursday was the seventh public meeting on the issue of the LMO since the process began in July of 2019 – which followed the year long process to develop the Comprehensive Plan as required by state law. As evidenced by the picture to the left, one of three stanchions placed strategically throughout the county in the fall of 2019, in addition to advertisements in the local papers, these meetings were promoted.
Due to Covid-19 making it difficult for the public to attend and be involved in mid-2020, County Council made the decision to postpone the review of the draft document prepared by the LMO Steering Committee until after the first of the year. This decision provided Edgefield County constituents many extra months to review the proposed draft, as well as make suggestions to our County Planner, who would be reviewing during the months the project was on hold. We believe this was a prudent decision. We recognize that in spite of these efforts until recently many Edgefield County citizens weren’t aware or informed about this process. We are committed to ensuring all citizens have adequate opportunity to hear and understand and provide their opinions and input on the issues at hand.
We are grateful for the great turnout last Thursday. It should be noted that the current Planning Commission, and County Council, in addition to many citizens, are not satisfied with the draft LMO and zoning map, and significant changes will be made in the coming weeks as together we work toward a final product. We believe the Comprehensive Plan, adopted with widespread public support in July 2019, is a good summary of the community’s goals and vision – to protect our way of life, to protect citizens’ rights and pursuits, and at the same time to protect our rural areas and natural resources from inappropriate development or uses. We do not want to interfere with family farms, entrepreneurial ventures, quiet enjoyment of your property, and such. However, the current existing County ordinance and zoning need to be improved if they are to be in keeping with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan to protect those kinds of things.
We believe Thursday’s meeting was a great opportunity for constituents to voice concerns they have. As mentioned above, Planning Commissioners and County Council Members also have serious concerns with the draft LMO / zoning map as it has been provided to us. We desire to make productive changes to ensure the best possible result. While the most rural sections of our county may remain un-zoned in the final decision, leaving 80 % of our growing county un-protected likely is not the best stewardship of one of our greatest resources, our land, since it would allow industrial and high-density development to continue unchecked in the areas we want to protect.
The previously proposed schedule for Planning Commission LMO hearings and meetings has been postponed to allow time for County Council to continue meeting with their constituents and for the Planning Commission and the Planning Office to digest the current comments received, as well as continue having discussions with those contacting the Planning Office on a daily basis.
While we are working on a document which will serve the entire county, each district has unique characteristics, as well as their own economic issues. Our desire is to serve all districts, as well as have constructive conversations with citizens who live in those districts. Over the course of the next few months, we have decided to have meetings at the district level. These meetings will consist of constituents who sign up to attend, along with the planning commissioner representing your district, the County Council Representative representing your district, and county staff. The Chairman of the Planning Commission will attend many meetings, as well one of the at-large Planning Commissioners.
If you would like to attend one of these meetings, please contact our County Planner Kevin Singletary at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-637-2101. Constituents have 30 days from today to have your name added to the list, and we will commence the meetings beginning the week of March 8th.
All of County Council either attended or reviewed the Public Hearing on Thursday February 11, 2021. We are all grateful for our Planning Commissioners who are investing their time and talent in this important process.
The entire Public Hearing is available at the Edgefield County YouTube Channel, but because so many were unable to hear what our Commissioners shared, we have provided that portion of the meeting in its own link. You can review by clicking here. https://youtu.be/QRDzx46qHro.
If you have not already, we encourage you to subscribe to our YouTube Channel. All public meetings are placed there for your review, and depending upon your settings, you can receive an e-mail when a new video is posted.
Thank you for your participation in this very important effort.
The Edgefield County Council