Dorchester Co. reviews comprehensive plan; looks ahead to what’s next

Dorchester County is coming up on the last year of a five-year comprehensive before a review.
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 4:47 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2023 at 11:10 PM EST
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DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester County is coming up on the last year of a five-year comprehensive before a review. The state requires local governments with comprehensive plans to review them every five years and replace them every ten years.

The plan, discussed in 2018 and adopted in early 2019, outlines 35 action items county committees would work towards achieving. Some of those goals were deemed near-term with a timeline of one to three years. Those included creating a growth management plan, attracting a Trident Technical Campus and creating regulations for sand mining. Those three could be considered accomplished.

Mid-term actions, taking three to five years list actively working to grow county services and continuing to attract secondary education facilities to the county.

As for about five year and onward goals, planning and zoning director Kiera Reinertsen says those are ongoing. She explains that those goals take longer to both set up and achieve. They include studying locations and creating a plan for bringing healthcare to underserved areas and creating a bike and pedestrian path that links the county. Reinertsen says staff is making strides in bringing a facility to St. George and is actively still working on those goals.

Going into the next five years, she says there may be new action items added, but the overall goals still apply.

“And so I expect that the goals will remain the same. There may be a little shift in some of the priorities. Maybe a couple of new goals, but ultimately, the plan that we adopted back 2018/2019 I think we will show is still a good and valid plan. And we’re still going to continue to move forward with that through the next couple years,” Reinertsen says.

She says something that will remain on the to-do list is continuing to bring industry and jobs, to balance the jobs to housing ratio. In the past five years, the county announced the Walmart facility and record-breaking industry investment in 2022.

“Certainly, think in the in the near term in that five-year window that we’re going to continue to see the sort of growth that we’ve seen the last few years,” Economic Development Director for the county, John Truluck says.

He says continued industry investment will also help with the long-term goal of expanding county resources, since property taxes for the businesses could benefit county projects.

“It’s not just quantity of jobs. It’s the quality of the job. So, we’re not necessarily trying to focus on bringing in large employers’ big numbers. But you know, we are in the business of trying to raise people’s quality of life and that means higher income so more, more wages, higher wages for the jobs that are coming are the ones that are here, you know, we want to see those companies grow and do well and continue to pay their people better than they then have it accomplishes the same thing,” Truluck explains.

Reinertsen says as they approach the end of year five, staff is working to compile all the action items and completed project in an online program that will track the quantitative progress. She says it will help give a clear metric in the next few months of what was completed successfully, what is ongoing and what remains to be done.

If you live in the county, you can expect to see public meetings about the future five year plan happening this spring and summer.

Click here to read the entire comprehensive plan.