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Voice views about zoning

LAKE WYLIE -- There are rules for what types of buildings can go where in Lake Wylie, and some of those rules could change. Before they do, York County wants residents to decide what the new rules should be.

York County planners are working on a unified development ordinance, a document that would combine existing laws and possibly new requirements for county construction. An interactive community meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. June 30 in the large conference room of the county offices at 1070 Heckle Blvd., Rock Hill.

"It's basically an overall code rewrite," said County Councilman Tom Smith. "It takes existing rules -- whether it's the Lake Wylie buffer, overlays, open space, things like that -- and puts it into one code."

The two main focuses will be subdivision and zoning codes, said county zoning administrator Dave Pettine. One meeting was held in May, but was more preliminary than the meeting Tuesday, which Pettine expects will include specific topics like look, layout and conservation of building projects.

Also, electronic devices will be used by audience members to gauge interest in specific proposals as they are taking place, a technology the county is using for the first time.

"Everyone in the audience will be able to vote and see feedback on the issues right there at the meeting," Pettine said. "A lot of times people don't want to say something because they feel like there might be a stronger voice opposing them."

Planners hope to have an ordinance ready for county vote in about a year. In Lake Wylie, the issue could be of more importance than in other areas since being unincorporated means no city or town standards for development. Questions on what developers are required to do often came to Smith and the county when, for instance, Mill Creek Commons began development in Lake Wylie.

"That's one of the things that we hope to get out of this is something that will identify areas of the county with an appeal they have and an aesthetic appeal that creates some kind of sense of place," Pettine said. "Not that everything will look the same, but that there are some specific standards."

Pettine also hopes the new plan will be laid out so specifically that builders can almost follow it step by step to see what is required, rather than sifting through numerous ordinances and procedures. For community members, the opportunity to impact local architectural standards and similar issues is something people asked for and should take advantage of, Smith said.

"This is a time for them to show up and have their voices heard," he said.

For more information on the project, including the upcoming meeting, call 803-909-7234 or visit jjg.com/yorkcountyudo.

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