York County planners expect Lake Wylie to play a significant role in the residential growth they say can’t be handled by one group.
“People are coming to York County,” said Diane Dil, long range planner for the county. “They’re coming here with their cars and their kids, looking for a great quality of life.”
County leaders met Sept. 19 with elected officials from each municipality and school board in York County, along with state legislators, at a community workshop in Rock Hill to give an update on the county’s comprehensive land-use plan.
“It’s not going to work if we don’t do it together, and don’t do it as a team,” said Bill Shanahan, county manager. “We can’t fix (growth issues), we can’t stay ahead of them, if we don’t work together.”
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Tega Cay, Fort Mill, Clover and York each have their own plans. State law requires regular updates and a revision every 10 years.
Just more than 226,000 people called York County home in 2010. Projections show a 21 percent increase by 2020 and 40 percent jump by 2030. By 2040, the projected population of 364,400 would be a 61 percent increase from 2010.
“We can’t build a wall,” Dil said, “so we’re going to have to build a plan.”
S.C. 49 from Lake Wylie to York and the Pole Branch Road area are spots where county planners expect significant change.
“By 2040, we’ll see growth in that area,” Dil said.
The current 2004 land-use plan was updated in 2009. A new plan will take 12 to 15 months from a October or November start. The goal is to have York County Council adopt it in December 2015 or January 2016. The plan will include feedback from stakeholder group meetings and an online community survey, covering topics from roads to housing density to zoning.
The plan will guide future growth but won’t be a regulatory document.
Some asked why the existing plan isn’t followed closer.
“Did we follow it completely?” Shanahan said. “No we didn’t. Did we use it as a guide? We have used it as a guide.”
S.C. Rep. Ralph Norman points to recent job announcements in Fort Mill and Chester County as reasons why planning documents are important.
“The industries are coming,” he said. “The whole game is changed. It all starts by putting it on a piece of paper.”
Issues discussed included public transit, a countywide water plan, land set aside for new roads, recreation needs, affordable housing, land preservation and shared services among municipalities or school districts.
Some issues the impact more specific areas of the county, like road needs in Fort Mill and Tega Cay, could be addressed in breakout groups from the larger one.
“I’m hoping that we’ll drill this down into even smaller groups,” said York County Councilman Michael Johnson. “Hopefully we can have a series of meetings on a more local level to do this.”
Community meetings will be held on the comprehensive plan, and the yet unreleased online survey will make up a significant portion of the public input.