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Voice views on buffer rule April 14

LAKE WYLIE -- A process focused on public participation throughout offers perhaps the final opportunity for the community to have its say April 14.

The formation of a revised Catawba River buffer plan in York County began in 2007, with two separate presentations to county council resulting in county planners sent back to the drawing board. Since 2007, several public meetings have been held to decide what the new buffer ordinance should include.

While council approved first reading of the latest version in January, changes were recommended.

"We're very close on it," Councilman Tom Smith said at the time. "The perennial streams, though, I think you have to get isolated by itself because you can't mix it in with the Lake Wylie buffer. You can't do things with a stream that you might do with a buffer."

Dave Pettine, zoning administrator for the county, recently sent an e-mail to past participants of the public meetings informing them of changes made since January, which can be viewed April 14.

"Following first reading by council, the ordinance was referred to the planning sub-committee, where some additional changes were discussed and recommended," Pettine wrote. "Staff has made an effort to address those changes and would like additional input from the group."

Main changes since first reading in January include the removal of all new language on perennial streams, or streams that run each year during normal seasons of rainfall, as well as a special exemption process for professional landscaping within the 50-foot undisturbed buffer surrounding Lake Wylie.

"Other changes include minor formatting, grammar and clarification but do not create substantive changes to the provisions in the draft ordinance," Pettine said.

Remaining in the ordinance are basic notions like the 50-foot undisturbed space, as well as processes for petitioning for construction within that buffer and appealing county decisions.

The April 14 meeting will be held 6-7:30 p.m. at the large conference room, building 103, Heckle Blvd. Government Complex, 1070 Heckle Blvd., Rock Hill. Draft documents will not be presented until that night, though staff will stay later to facilitate discussion if needed. For more information, call 803- 909-7230.