Objectives and Strategies for Each Goal will be Voted on Individually in Early 2010

Demonstrators outside Greenville County  Council Chambers prior to meeting. ~ Photo by Billy Mitchell
After receiving legal advice from the County Attorney, Greenville County Council, by a voice vote, approved the portions of the Comprehensive County Plan mandated by state law.

Action on Appendix F was deferred until next year except for the 22 goals contained therein that will be voted on individually by Council beginning in January and February of 2010. (See the 22 goals listed elsewhere in this issue).

An amendment proposed by Willis Meadows would have in effect killed the plan and triggered the call for a legal briefing by the County Attorney in Executive Session. The legal briefing was prompted by a belief by some Council members that Council would be in violation of state law mandating a comprehensive plan be prepared every 10 years, unless required portions of the plan were approved prior to the end of the calendar year.

Council emerged from the Executive Session with a revised version of the Meadows proposal that was promptly approved by a voice vote.

Eleven members of Council were present for the vote. It was not clear whether all those present voted, however the vote was announced as unanimous. Councilwoman Lottie Gibson excused herself from the meeting prior to the vote citing a prior commitment.

The approved  Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan reads as follows:

“I move that Appendix F is amended to retain the 22 goals only. I also move that each goal, objective, and strategy listed in Appendix F be brought back to Council beginning in January and February in the following priority: Items in the timeline zero to one year and items to one to two years beginning with the highest to lowest priority ranking by Council and Planning Commission. A vote by Council will be taken on each item as to what the final strategy and implementation of the goal and objective will be. Nothing in Appendix F can be implemented without Council’s approval.”

Seven of twelve votes on Council will be required to approve any part of the plan.

Hundreds of citizens representing a dozen or more groups opposed to the plan on constitutional grounds gathered outside County Square for a rally and news conference prior to the 6 p.m. Council meeting.

A petition bearing approximately 300 signatures was delivered to Greenville County Council during the meeting. The petition reads as follows:

We the People of Greenville County

“Whereas the majority of citizens of Greenville County have no knowledge of the effects of the Greenville County Comprehensive Land Use Plan;

And whereas the effect of this plan may in due time cause irreversible harm to property rights of said citizens; We the undersigned, do hereby petition the Greenville County Council to insert strong language in the Greenville County Comprehensive Land Use Plan to observe private property rights when any plans are brought to County Council for implementation.”

Greenville County Council will not meet again until Tuesday, January 5, 2010. At that time it will likely begin discussing and voting on the 22 goals individually.

Some of these goals are controversial, expensive, and could provide a nightmare scenario for landowners in rural areas.

Goal number 4, “Ensure a continuing supply of clean drinking water and the improvement of our natural water bodies” on the surface sounds harmless and beneficial. However, when you look at the listed objectives under the goal, there is much complex involvement of government in private property matters.

Objectives:

1. Decrease overall water consumption.

Strategy: Work with service providers to change the rate structure for commercial and residential usage to decrease water usage.

2. Enhance requirements for riparian buffer protection

Strategy: Create effective regulations for erosion prevention that prevent the clearing of flood plains and steep slopes.

3. Conserve water resources.

Strategy: Create a program to incentivize residential and commercial water re-use practices and subsidize some equipment.

4. Minimize stormwater runoff.

Strategy: Adopt a parking ordinance that encourages LID standards and requires excess parking be pervious.

5. Restore disturbed native riparian habitat and floodplains countywide.

Strategy: Increase funding for programs that purchase developed land in sensitive areas and restore habitats to original state.

Each of the 22 goals have listed objectives and strategies as well as lists of government and non-government agencies to participate in developing and implementing the strategy.

Citizens interested in controlling their own destiny by providing input to the review and approval or disapproval of these goals, objectives and strategies that could become county ordinances enforceable by law, should study this plan and attend all Greenville County Council meetings until this plan is approved or disposed of.

Council meets each first and third Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Know who your Council member is and let them know your views. Most Council members will want to know the views of their constituents.

 

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Mike Scruggs