Proposed plan to rezone 360 acres to industrial land raises community concerns

A developer is requesting to change more than 360 acres of residential land to industrial land.
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 11:20 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 20, 2023 at 11:32 PM EST
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ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCSC) - Calling one place home all your life until a rezoning request sign pops up on your street. That is what happened to a group of people who live in St. George.

One developer is requesting to change more than 360 acres of residential land to industrial land that would affect large properties off Highway 78 one mile east of St. George.

Although Dorchester County’s plans do not say what exactly will be built in this area, a number of residents who have spent their whole lives here say they want their land to be kept the way they’ve always known it to be.

Richard Myers was born on Sugar Hill Road in St. George and has lived here all his life.

“Everybody seems to know that something big is going to happen in this area except the people that live here,” Myers said.

He owns around 37 acres, which has the possibility of turning into industrial land.

“All of this that we’re standing on now used to be our farm, but as the years changed... the farm got smaller,” Myers said. “But we still got a farm, and we want to keep it that way. We don’t want a factory sitting in the middle of it or a warehouse.”

Another resident in the area, Barbara Felder, is the sixth generation in her family to live here. Her grandparents and aunt’s home is still on the land.

She was asked what her reaction was when she first saw the Dorchester County rezoning sign down the street.

“We were shocked,” Felder said. “There were no letters or no communication about the changes in our area.”

Felder says she worries about how this rezoning could affect pollution, their roads and access to emergency vehicles.

“We shouldn’t let the county nor the developer to come in our community and tell us what to do as taxpayers and for our future,” Felder said.

Myers says he has no intention of selling his land but knows his taxes will rise if he doesn’t.

“If they want your property, they’re going to get it because they’re going to run your taxes sky high until you say, ‘Enough,’” Myers said. “‘I got to sell it because I can’t pay the taxes.’”

Both of them say they want to be involved with the rezoning process.

“We are tired of explaining and they need to change and not think about the almighty dollar that’s coming into Dorchester County area,” Felder said.

Dorchester County did not respond for a comment because Monday was a holiday. This rezoning still has to go through three readings before it can be approved.

To take a closer look at the official rezoning plan from the county, click here.