By Doug Lockard 04Sept21
With 16% growth over the past 10 years, and a prediction of 150,000 additional people by 2040, Greenville County has some significant challenges facing it. That balance between economics and conservation that makes Greenville such a desirable place to live will only become more difficult to attain if action isn’t taken now. Our community needs leaders to step up and steer things in a positive direction, and we, the people, must speak up to prevent the irrevocable loss of natural land and assure conservation of our quality of life for generations to come.
In 2018, Greenville County enacted the Land and Development Regulation ‘Article 3.1’ which was well-intended to provide address the lack of rural conservation design standards in the then current land development regulations. Developers, landowners and Councilmembers have been fighting over it ever since.
The most recent version of a revised Article 3.1 passed in June with a 7-5 vote by the Greenville County Council weakened the regulation, allow developers to set aside even less than 30% of land in new subdivisions as was recommended by the county’s planning staff. It creates a sliding scale ranging from no open-space requirement for subdivisions with 2-acre lots to a 25% open-space requirement in new housing communities with half-acre lots. It also removed a requirement for developers to widen county roads near new subdivisions.
So why is this important to the SCNPS? Preventing the loss of native habitat that is critical to our wildlife, our rare and threatened native plants, and our own quality of life is part of the SCNPS mission statement.
The next step will be a public hearing at County Council on a date to be determined. What can you do? First, be aware of the issues and then communicate with your elected representatives to let them know what you think.
Voting in favor of the Article 3.1 changes: Ernest Fant, Willis Meadows, Mike Barnes, Chris Harrison, Xanthene Norris, Steve Shaw and Stan Tzouvelekas. Dissenting votes were cast by Lynn Ballard, Joe Dill, Dan Tripp, Butch Kirven and Liz Seman.