Charleston County updates comprehensive plan as city grows in demand

Charleston County updates comprehensive plan as city grows in demand
Published: Jun. 27, 2014 at 2:36 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2014 at 2:41 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Planning Director Dan Pennick says the county's comprehensive plan is a strategic tool to plan for the future. The plan is reviewed every five years and overhauled every ten. The county's physical boundary or Urban Growth Boundary is the focal point.

"Inside the Urban Growth Boundary is where public investment is going to be made. You have all your public facilities. You have most of your roads."

During the labor-intensive process, officials take a look at the Urban Growth boundary and modify it based on economic growth, transportation needs, preservation and population.

"It has been suggested that by 2025 we'll have close to 800,000 residents here in Charleston County, which is almost double than what we have now," says Mt. Pleasant resident Joseph Wren. "So, this plan is putting the rubber to the road as far as putting the groundwork and the framework for the plan."

Pennick says they work closely with the 17 jurisdictions in the county, all of which have their own planning and zoning regulations.

"What we try to do is have more similarity than dissimilarity and making sure if you're anywhere in this urban context the rules are going to be the same, and if you're in the rural, which is the predominantly the unincorporated Charleston County, that it remains rural."

Some suggest the plan be revised more often.

"I think it could be even shorter," says Jane Starckey, a realtor in the area. "It can be every three years because we have an influx of people moving into, especially the Lowcountry."

"The secret is out of the bag," says Wren. "We live in a great area, very few places on the east coast that have all the amenities that we have here. So, we do have to embrace that, but we have to do it smartly, and we need to have the infrastructure in place now."

Comments can be submitted online until July 15th. The Planning Department will present its revised plan to the Planning Commission on September 8th.