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County developing 'smart growth' plan for eastern area

County developing 'smart growth' plan for eastern area

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Orangeburg County has received a federal grant to conduct a sustainability study of eastern Orangeburg County related to Jafza South Carolina LLC's plans to build a 1,322-acre industrial park near Santee.

The Lower Savannah Council of Governments, in conjunction with the land-use consulting firm of Clarion Associates, will conduct what has been dubbed the Eastern Orangeburg County Sustainability Study.

The study will aim to provide the county with a "smart growth" plan, including planning and regulatory tools and a fiscal impact analysis that addresses the economic, environmental and community impacts of the Jafza project.

The study will look at the current culture of eastern Orangeburg County, plus its land use, land supply and transportation infrastructure. It will also project what the county will be like in the next 20 years.

Harold Young, deputy administrator of the county's Community Development Division, told the Orangeburg County Planning Commission during its meeting Wednesday that the county had received a $265,000 Community Development Block Grant for the study. The county's match is $40,000, he said.

Young said the LSCOG, with the assistance of Clarion Associates, will look at the infrastructure needs and cultural dynamic of the county to enable it to better plan and sustain future growth. Representatives of the LSCOG and Clarion Associates will meet with the Planning Commission at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

"They look at (the) toolbox we have as a county and look at what the other counties have going on next to us," Young said.

He said he hopes the county will receive the review information by February.

"A lot of our goals is look at how we have grown and look at the trends in our economy," Young said. "The first thing we have to show them is what all we have as far as inventory in the county such as industrial parks, highways, roads and bridges."

Young said Tuesday's meeting will be interactive and hands-on, giving commissioners an opportunity to dialogue with the LSCOG and Clarion representatives.

Jennifer Tinsley, LSCOG director of planning, said the study will look at the eastern part of the county and its projected growth in connection with the Jafza project. The study will look at the infrastructure already in place in the municipalities of Vance, Bowman, Santee and Elloree.

"We see it as a way to create some smart growth and planning tools in eastern Orangeburg County," Tinsley said.

In other matters, commissioners unanimously approved the request of an Orangeburg home building company to subdivide a single lot into three parcels in Gerwill Estates off of North Road.

The commission gave Thomas Green, owner of Orangeburg-based Tri Star Builders LLC, preliminary approval to subdivide about 14.55 acres for financing and tax purposes.

The lots will be divided into one-and-a-half acres, three-quarters of an acre and 12.5 acres, Young said.

Jim Albergotti, chairman of the Planning Commission, noted the matter was fairly routine and part of the required procedure.

"There is really nothing extraordinary," he said.

Also, the county's Planning Commission staff expressed its appreciation to the commissioners, who are all volunteers, by providing each of them with a letter opener and a meal after the meeting.

Contact the writer: gzaleski or 803-533-5551.



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