Public input is helping shape the future of Richland County.
Since 2014, Richland County has sought and recorded public comment about how residents see their communities developing – or not developing – in the next 20 years. This input was used to craft updates to the County’s comprehensive plan, which is a long-term proposal for how the County will prepare for and guide future growth and development.
Now, the County is taking the first step in turning those updates into action by rewriting its zoning ordinance and land use regulations to align with the public input recently incorporated into the comprehensive plan.
“The most critical component of what we do as planners is people – those for whom we plan,” said Ashley Powell, Richland County Planning Services Manager. “We are asking that residents of Richland County really engage with us throughout this process to ensure that we arrive at a more sophisticated, functional and efficient code that reflects and protects the intended character of the places our citizens work, live and play, with consideration of the County’s economic viability.”
The zoning ordinance and land use rewriting process is expected to last through 2018. Once the process is complete, new policies will be in place that determine where land in Richland County is developed, how rural areas and natural resources are protected and what that balance means for improving quality of life across the County.
Residents are asked to attend an upcoming workshop to again offer input, this time specific to the future of land use and zoning in their communities. The workshops, which will all present the same information, take place as follows:
· 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Monday, March 27 at Lower Richland High School, 2615 Lower Richland Blvd., Hopkins
· 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Monday, March 27 at Longleaf Middle School, 1160 Longreen Pkwy., Columbia
· 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 at Ballentine Community Center, 1009 Bickley Road, Irmo
“Our 2015 update to the comprehensive plan accomplished much in the way of moving the County forward and in the right direction,” said Planning Director Tracy Hegler. “The rewrite of our land development code takes another look at our envisioned growth strategy for the County and undergirds it with the level of detail necessary to facilitate the transition from vision to implementation.”
In 2013, Richland County Council directed staff to begin the process of updating the comprehensive plan with a focus on land use, due to the changing face of the Midlands and the County’s overall growth.
For more information, visit www.weplantogether.org or contact Ashley Powell, Richland County Planning Services Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-576-2166.