Mayoral Minutes


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Fountain Inn, Political

June 6, 2022 by Fountain Inn Mayor GP McLeer - Views: 29

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Mayoral Minutes

S347-1.jpgMy #1 goal when elected was to take a deep dive on our zoning laws. I’m happy to report that work is now getting started in earnest.

To manage growth responsibly, we have to manage the intersection of property owner rights, the appropriate authority of government (how big do you want local government to get), community vision, and the free market. We do that through zoning. It is the most objective and meaningful tool we have to address growth - without it, subjective opinions that change with time, give us a patchwork of land uses and no cohesive vision. The things we all talk about - lot sizes, driveway widths, infrastructure requirements, and more - find their home in zoning laws.

We’ve made small tweaks over the last few months, but major changes are needed to our zoning laws to protect our community’s character. You can’t just approve major changes to all of your zoning on a whim though. There are real implications to property owners, community planning, infrastructure, and more. That’s why our City Council has committed to a total revision, not just an “update”, of our Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map. 

In late May, we took the first big step in that process by issuing an RFQ so we can bring in specialists to help facilitate this lengthy and important process along with our staff. Funding was already approved for this out of our federal ARPA funds, not impacting our city’s general fund.

From the RFQ: “The Comprehensive Plan will address present and anticipated growth in a manner than ensures Fountain Inn maintains citizens’ desired small-town Southern appeal while addressing current needs and development pressures. This Comprehensive Plan is anticipated as a full, ten-year revision, as mandated by the State of South Carolina, rather than a standard five-year data update.”

This process will include a review of all existing zoning laws, public hearings, stakeholder input sessions, and eventually will result in a proposal of various changes to our zoning laws that Council can begin to vote on. This is a complex process - there are lots of moving parts to zoning and planning including a lot of legal limitations. This isn’t a short process, it will take some time. It is also a process dictated in many ways by state law and is a large lift for any local government, especially at the scale we are pushing for.

But we are committed, and we are actively working to create the right tools to manage our growth instead of relying on outdated ordinances that are no longer facilitating the vision we all have for Fountain Inn.

Stay tuned for more and be sure to follow along - I will be using this column to highlight this process and look forward to sharing updates with you.■ 

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