By Stan Welch
The Anderson County Council gave unanimous first reading approval to the Northeast County Area Plan (NECAP) as an amendment to the county comprehensive land use plan.
The plan, which focuses on the part of Anderson county that lies north and east of S.C. Highway 8 from I-85 to the adjacent county lines (Pickens and Greenville) and totally encompasses the Powdersville area, provides additional information and planning data for one of the fastest growing areas in the state.
Planning director Michael Forman pointed out that the county’s population, determined by the 2010 census to be approximately 187,000 is projected to skyrocket to approximately 266,000 by 2040. Of that increase, one fourth is expected to occur in the NECAP area.
With thirty five thousand acres available for such growth, two thirds of which is currently zoned agricultural, Forman reminded the Council and other audience members that several means of controlling and directing the growth are available.
In addition to incorporating part of the area as a municipality, an option that has been less than well received at several town hall meetings in recent months, Forman mentioned zoning, as well as managing access to sewer as means of managing the growth. He also mentioned lesser methods, such as the formation of citizen advisory committees and other bodies.
Councilwoman Cindy Wilson mentioned that she and Councilman Ken Waters, whose entire county council district lies in the NECAP area, share a precinct that lies in the area. That is the White Plains precinct. Zoning, under county ordinance, is requested and enacted precinct by precinct. Wilson stated that she and Waters would be holding a town hall meeting together for that precinct’s residents.
In other business, District Three Councilman Ray Graham proposed a motion to write a letter of support for other county councils across the state who are seeking a change in the location of the annual South Carolina Association of Counties (SCAC) conference from Hilton Head to varying locations around the state.
Graham said that he considers the annual conference to be a valuable experience, allowing education and networking opportunities for the various county officials around the state. “It’s a nice vacation at Hilton Head too, but I just don’t think it’s the most efficient use of taxpayers’ money. A number of the smaller counties, with less resources, can’t always attend. There is a movement to change the location each year, and I think we should express our support.”
The Council unanimously agreed, although District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd didn’t arrive until after the vote. Her commitment to the Hilton Head conference is well established.