Housing boom continues in Northern Anderson County

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By Stan Welch
In the customary, almost inevitable, sequence of events, economic development creates jobs and attracts capital investment. Those are the aspects that make headlines, and those impacts are real and long lasting.
But subsequent consequences are just as impactful. Jobs attract people to the area where those  jobs exist, and those people have to have someplace to live. Hence, the housing boom currently underway in Anderson County, especially in the northern end of the county, where flight from Greenville County’s much higher taxes adds even more pressure to produce housing.
A brief snapshot of the demand for housing, covering various projects presented to the Anderson County Planning Commission, reflects both the supply and demand sides of the equation. Several thousand jobs have been created in Anderson County in recent years, and well over a billion dollars in capital investments have been made at places like First Quality, Arthrex and TTI, and various other commercial and industrial sites.
Two factors feed the demand for housing. First of all, many of these jobs require trained employees, and that demand cannot be met completely with existing local candidates. Also, many of the processes employed require experienced operators who are relocated in many cases from the companies’ current sites. Also impacting the housing market are the higher wages, which can allow those who couldn’t own their own homes previously to move into the homeowners’ marketplace.
In a very short look at the market, statistics obtained from Anderson County’s planning department, which reviews and evaluates all applications for new subdivisions and other developments, the numbers indicate that applications have been made for developments containing two hundred ninety nine lots just since December of last year. That total is also limited to applications for sites located in Districts Six and Seven, the predominant coverage area of the Journal.
One of those proposals in the Powdersville area, Chimney Hill, was denied by the planning commission following a public uproar against the project, and despite the recommendation of the planning department. The developer has filed suit against the county for their actions. A ninety nine lot project known as the Grove at Oak Trail was also denied.
In such cases, developers often modify offending or non-compliant aspects of their proposal and resubmit them. The planning department usually works with them to come into compliance. The Grove at Oak Trail recently underwent its third review. All of the projects mentioned here are slated for single family dwellings.
Extending the scope of the review makes it clear that the explosive growth in northern Anderson County , makes that area far and away the leader in permitting and constructing new housing. In the last two years, preliminary or final approval has been given to the development of a total of at least eleven hundred lots or units with at least one other development designated simply as large scale, without a specific number of units designated. Those units will occupy approximately five hundred acres of land.