One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan
What’s at stake?
Berkeley County is at a critical juncture in its history. Its population has increased dramatically over the past ten years, and the county is projected to have the highest population growth in the region over the next twenty years. This rapid growth has created many economic opportunities. However, it has also strained public services, threatened the character of rural lands, and compromised natural resources. The importance of the One Berkeley 2020 Comprehensive Plan cannot be overstated. Berkeley County is going to continue growing and changing. This plan provides the opportunity to ensure these changes are to the benefit of Berkeley County citizens, both longstanding and newly arrived.
What is a comprehensive plan?
A comprehensive plan is a document that expresses the collective vision of a specific region. It covers a broad range of topics, including land use, housing, community facilities, and parks and recreation, among others. A comprehensive plan is a set of goals for a region, and a collection of strategies to help achieve those goals. Most importantly, it is collaborative, meaning that elected officials, planning staff, business owners, community organizations, and citizens just like you all have a seat at the table. This is your chance to shape the future of our region! To learn more about the One Berkeley Comprehensive plan, watch this video!
Who uses the comprehensive plan?
A comprehensive plan is a shared vision for the future of the county. It is the basis for decision making for many different stakeholders in the county. However, it does not create specific policy or zoning. Rather, it guides those policies. It is up to citizens like you to help create the vision for the county during the comprehensive plan, but also to use your voice to make sure county staff and elected officials consult the comprehensive plan when making decisions.
What’s worked in the past? What hasn’t?
The last major update to the comprehensive plan occurred in 2010. You can check out that plan here. It included many good ideas such as managing growth sustainably, preserving rural land, and creating recreational opportunities, especially in rural areas. These are excellent goals, but the plan had very few strategies for attaining these goals, which has left many of them unfulfilled. With the One Berkeley 2020 Comprehensive Plan, we must build off these goals by including more specific details about how they will be achieved.
What are some of our ideas?
The Conservation League has been working with citizens, county staff, and elected officials to determine what the most pressing needs are for Berkeley County, and working internally to devise some strategies about how those can be addressed. Here are a few ideas we think Berkeley County needs to include in the One Berkeley 2020 Comprehensive Plan:
– Refine the Principal Growth Area to protect rural lands and natural resources
– Employ specific rural zoning outside the Principal Growth Area to limit density and use
– Establish special overlay districts to protect historic settlement communities such as Lebanon, Huger, New Hope, Jack Primus and others
– Establish dedicated funding for conservation and recreation
– Enhance protections of the Francis Marion National Forest with rural zoning and prescribed burn and smoke easements
– Create regulations on mining near communities
– Maintain buffers to prepare for inland marsh migration
– Establish a program to assist with maintenance and upkeep of wells in rural areas
– Create a masterplan for the expansion of public sewer within the Principal Growth Area
– Explore public-private partnerships to establish compost facilities
– Improve interconnectivity between existing neighborhoods and developments
– Require interconnectivity between new neighborhoods and developments
– Include multi-modal options in all transportation projects through the completion of a complete streets policy
– Prepare US 17-A, US 52, and US 176 as future corridors for regional transit options
– Create a new resilience element or include resilience goals throughout each element to address and prevent flooding
How can you get involved?
Participate in the Scenario Planning Workshops on February 17, 2022 to let county representatives and consultants what what your preferred vision is for the future of Berkeley County.