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Master plan for Tri-County aimed at 'protecting way of life'

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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Five years of planning, studies and community meetings were crunched together into five colorful maps at the front of a conference room in North Charleston. The maps are apart of a master plan to protect the Lowcountry's way of life as population growth begins to threaten it in the future.  

"It is a blueprint for the future," said Dorchester County Councilman Larry Hargett.

Hargett has spearheaded a joint effort by Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties for the last five years. 

"This plan takes a holistic or complete look at all elements of life in our region," said Hargett.

The BCGCOG Chairman along with others created the master plan to safe guard the region's the way of life in the future.

The plan is focused on protecting and adding green space in the Lowcountry. It also looks into the possibility of developing new population centers so when an influx of people head for the Tri-County in the next 40 years, the area will be able to handle them.

"We believe we'll have a hundred thousand [people] in another 20 to 30 years," said Hargett.

With his estimates double the region's current population, Hargett says the joint plan is a great example of what needs to happen in the area.

The plan details everything from where to build new communities to creating additional roadways, bike lanes and parks. 

It has already gained initial support but now comes the hard part. Locking up support from elected officials in each county to move forward with the plans.

"We're going to go into the community with focus groups," said Hargett, who continued by saying "I'm going to meet with elected officials of all three counties and cities saying this is the plan, this is what we would like to see now will you impliment this?"

Isle of Palms resident Guy Taylor thinks there's no other solution.

"Without you've got chaos," said Taylor.

However, the IOP resident says getting the nod from everyone involved may be tricky.

"As we get more and more people from other areas of the country I wonder about the cooperation," said Taylor. "They may all say I want mine now and I'm coming to get it. With all the small governments around here that's were the nightmare's going to occur is getting the governments to cooperate."

Hargett says it's very rare that all counties and cities come together and agree to do the same thing.

The councilman says he's hopeful everyone will see the benefit of this project and it will be implemented in the future.

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