Anderson County considering changes to land use plan – Meeting Thursday

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By Stan Welch
The Anderson County Council will meet at the Civic Center at noon on Thursday, Nov. 12. The council has been meeting at the center since the coronavirus outbreak, to allow for safe distancing.
In the midst of a multi-page agenda, which includes proposed economic incentives for several so far undisclosed businesses, the Anderson County Council will also consider several significant changes to the county’s comprehensive land use plan. As both a planning and a regulatory document, the collection of ordinances that shapes the use of land in the county is one of the more impactful aspects that county laws have.
County administrator Rusty Burns described the proposed changes as sweeping. He anticipated adoption of most if not all of the proposed changes. Among the issues that would be affected by passage of the proposals would be the issue of flag lots, or lots that often provide minimal frontage or access to the pertinent public road, but which open larger tracts of land to development.
The number of lots that could be approved on a summary plat is also under consideration. That number would likely be reduced, requiring developers to provide more details about their proposed developments. Also included in that ordinance would be clarified , and likely tighter, requirements to be in compliance with stormwater runoff regulations.
District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson is sponsoring several of the ordinances, all of which are at the preliminary stage of the legislative process. Often, a council member may offer an ordinance in title only as a means of starting a conversation about the proposed issue. Wilson has consistently sought to focus and clarify the regulations and controls affecting residential development. The three ordinances she proposes fit that bill. She is seeking to establish conservation development standards, which could set standards for the inclusion of public spaces or green spaces in a particular development. At this time, no such requirements exist.
She is also seeking to hone the language in the existing requirements for traffic impact studies, which can be used to determine the potential for infrastructure overload. Some of the changes she may seek would require the studies to be done at such times that the numbers would more accurately reflect peak traffic numbers. A corollary issue is the proposal that acceleration and deceleration lanes be required for certain developments, depending on such factors as the existing roads, and the size of the development.
The Council will also entertain a suggestion from District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd that a county wide mask ordinance be adopted. Floyd has raised the issue previously, but Council has shown little support for the idea.