York County gets greener

The York County Council took a page from NBC's programming and went "green" during its Monday meeting, supporting environmental and conservation causes.

While NBC is devoting this week's programing to living greener, the council took steps to tighten water use, to preserve the river and community and to create trails.

Water conservation

The council voted to eliminate sprinklers and irrigation systems and to issue citations for violators. The restriction applies to users of the county's water system, although council members encouraged well users to cut back, too.

County administrators are updating the county's drought ordinance to allow for restrictions during a Stage 4 drought. The ordinance hasn't been changed since 2004. Council members will vote on it later.

The move will bring the county on par with Rock Hill drought restrictions and make it easier to be consistent with other municipalities as conditions worsen, said David Harmon, the county's public works director.

Duke Energy recently said the area will move into extreme drought in the next six weeks if there is no significant rainfall in the near future.

Strategic trail connector

The Nation Ford Greenway could be South Carolina's first portion of the Carolina Thread Trail, a 15-county trail system in the Carolinas.

York is one of two pilot counties chosen to kick off the program envisioned by Foundation for the Carolinas. The council voted Monday to apply for a matching grant that would expand the trail.

Nation Ford Greenway coordinator Janet Steele said the greenway could be a key link in the trail system. Other legs could be planned elsewhere in the county.

Plans for the greenway started in 2000, and it is designed to span 31 miles in Fort Mill and along 10 miles of the Catawba River, Steele said. More than two miles of the trail, near Nation Ford High School, opened this summer.

Designating river 'scenic'

The council agreed to designate the Catawba River from Lake Wylie dam to Fort Lawn as "scenic" and suggested it could strengthen a dispute with North Carolina cities that want to draw millions of gallons of water from the Catawba each day.

The designation would create an advocacy group for the river and a partnership with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Together, they would look out for the best interests of that stretch of the river.

The Catawba Regional Council of Governments and the Chester County Council also have expressed support for the designation, which needs to be passed by the state General Assembly.

Preserve York County

To protect the heritage of a county that boasts the only federally recognized Native American tribe in the state and unique museums, the council supported applying for a "Preserve America" community designation.

This designation comes with its own road sign, White House recognition and a listing in a community directory.

The council also approved a resolution that provides for feedback on possible EPA regulation changes and encourages York County citizens to preserve and protect air quality of the community.