Mayoral Minutes...


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Fountain Inn, Political

August 15, 2022 by Fountain Inn Mayor GP McLeer

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Mayoral Minutes...

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Mayor McLeer

A couple of months ago I introduced a series for this column focused on zoning, today I want to add the second topic to that series - The Future Land Use Map.

Cities in South Carolina are required to review and/or update their Comprehensive Plan every five years. This “Comp Plan” has a few key elements to it, and perhaps the most important, or at least the most important to Fountain Inn as we begin our update process, is the Future Land Use Map.

A city’s Future Land Use Map shows the entire limits of a city, plus the immediate surrounding areas - what is better known as the “planning area”. Fountain Inn’s map is included in this column for reference. 

Each parcel in the planning area, both in the city and out, are coded by a color associated with a specific zoning or land use. For properties within the city limits, those colors represent current zoning classifications - residential, commercial, service, or industrial. 

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For parcels outside the city limits, but in the planning area, the coded colors are the official recommendation by the community, adopted by City Council, for what the zoning of that property should be - if the landowners ever requested annexation.

A good Comprehensive Planning process includes input from the community through workshops and hearings, including on the Future Land Use Map. During these public engagement opportunities, citizens have the ability to voice their opinions on these “future land uses” of parcels that may one day come into the city limits, or maybe for current parcels of land inside the city limits that may change uses over time. It is through these public events that the community’s vision is translated from white boards and comments to zoning categories and the Future Land Use Map. It is then codified by being voted on and adopted by City Council.

The Future Land Use Map is extremely important. Obviously, it’s important because it shows how the community wishes to grow. It is a visual and textual description of this vision. But it also carries legal weight.

When a property owner wishes to rezone or annex their property, they are told to first consult our Future Land Use Map to ensure their zoning category of choice is within the community’s vision. And then, when the Planning Commission first sees an annexation or rezoning request, one of the primary tools it has to base its vote on is the Future Land Use Map. When it comes before City Council, the same applies.

Because the Future Land Use Map was adopted by City Council, it is the official recommendation for zoning on parcels of land for the City. It should be a high bar to go against this official recommendation, one developed with public input. 

So, when we look at Fountain Inn’s Future Land Use Map, we see what the community’s vision was back in 2017, the last time it was updated (five years ago under state law). But a lot has changed since then. 

The 2017 map never anticipated the rate of growth we’ve experienced in Southern Greenville County and Northern Laurens County. And that’s why we’re starting the process to change our Future Land Use Map - we need a map that reflects our community’s vision more appropriately, one that carries legal weight and gives us the ability to control growth responsibly and within the proper authority of government ■

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