Stop Richland County’s Mass Rezoning

Richland County property owners are urged to attend the County Council meeting on April 19 to compel denial of controversial mass rezoning.

Concerned citizens in Richland County are being urged to attend the Council meeting on April 19, 6 pm at Richland County Administration Bldg, 2020 Hampton St. because of issues discovered with the planning staff’s recommended plan to rezone all parcels — over 110,000 parcels — in unincorporated Richland County.

The February notice sent to all property owners in unincorporated Richland County (375,000 acres) indicated the rezoning would become effective on May 2. However, the process has been deferred for 30 days due to the County’s Planning Commission’s recent reveal of potential impacts unknown to most homeowners.

If approved, the rezoning will change every parcel to a new zoning designation and comes with new limits to homeowners’ permitted uses.  Small rural farms and businesses will be impacted, and family property may not be able to be divided. 

Zoning changes will also allow developers to construct multi-family triplexes and quadplexes on vacant lots within subdivisions and in established areas comprised of single-family residences.  In addition, the number of houses permitted per acre on many undeveloped parcels currently zoned Rural, which is the equivalent to 78% of the unincorporated area, will automatically increase from 1.33/acre to 3, 6, 9, and even 12/acre.

Because the proposal “up zones” existing zoning designations to more dense zoning designations, the County Council’s review and approval of individual zoning/density changes currently required for subdivision development will no longer be necessary.

Citizens are concerned that the plan will cause over-development or exacerbate it, since real estate investment firms or developers looking to add dense “affordable housing” subdivisions will no longer have to seek Council’s approval.

The loss of oversight to determine whether proposed subdivisions are appropriate or that infrastructure (roads, schools, public water and sewer, law enforcement and life safety agencies, etc) is adequate to support them means Council will lose its authority to manage growth.

Attendance in numbers at Tuesday’s meeting is important. Citizens will begin gathering outside at 5 pm and are encouraged to wear red to show their opposition to the mass rezoning plan.  Be respectful of County Council and meeting procedures. (Public comment at this time is not necessary.) Masks are required in Council Chambers and a policy to prohibit purses, bags, backpacks, and briefcases may still be enforced.  For more information: [email protected]

Kim Murphy

Chapin, SC