Lexington County growth measures under scrutiny

By Al Dozier

Lexington County Council received feedback during a public hearing at the Dec.5 council meeting on new regulations designed to control continued growth in Lexington County.

The new “concurrency requirements” will require any new development to undergo a review by the county staff to determine that the plan coordinates with the rules and regulations of law enforcement, fire services, EMS and solid waste management.

Developers will have to go through a screening process that could require major changes in their plans.

Many residents voiced strong support for the measures, citing the need to control the growth throughout the unincorporated areas of the county.

“Developers should not dictate infrastructure,” said Lisa Huffstetler. “Listen to residents, not developers. Builders want the money. Take into account the services that would be needed for new development.”

“We need breathing room, ”Huffstetler said.

Will Allen, a newly-elect Lexington Town Councilman, said it’s “common sense” to regulate growth when you don’t have the infrastructure to support it.

Resident John Allen said growth can be detrimental to the county.

“We don’t want to be Myrtle Beach,” he said.

However, workers in the building industry complained that all of the new regulations will hurt a large number of people who depend on new development projects to keep their business going.

“You are marginalizing people,” said Paul Flowers. “I’m not going to be able to afford what you are doing. It’s an injustice to the little man.”

Councilwoman Debbie Summers said in an interview after the meeting that she listened to all of the concerns and is open to the council addressing them. She said she likes the idea of more communication with the business industry on acceptable regulations.

During the public hearing, the council also heard concerns about new regulations on short-term rentals.

Proposed new amendments to the county’s ordinances governing housing developments would cap new apartment complexes to no more than 200 units. The changes would also require a three-mile separation between multi-family housing projects. Buffers would be required to make sure housing projects are separated enough for green space.

Summers said the council is likely to review some of the regulations that are considered overly restrictive.