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Lexington County unveils comprehensive plan for long-term development

The county said the plan is the end result of a two-year process that heavily surveyed the many communities of Lexington County.
Credit: WLTX

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — The Lexington County Council has approved a plan for long-term growth after a two-year process that included numerous meetings and considerable public input.

The county's comprehensive plan, titled "Grow With Us: Responsibly Planning Lexington County" was a chance to set goals and ground rules for the future of the county and will serve as a guideline for development that includes the voice of residents. 

The final version of the plan includes sections regarding land use, economic development, transportation, public safety, community facilities and services, housing and neighborhoods, natural resources, resiliency, cultural resources, population, priority investment, and implementation actions.

The overall plan also breaks down the county into seven regions which include areas north of the Saluda River, the eastern county, the county center, the northern county, the southwest lakeshore of Lake Murray, the southern county, and the western county.

While also addressing each region's aspirations, the guide establishes goals in each category for the county as a whole.

For land use, the goal is responsible land use management to guide future growth and development between the county, cities, and utility providers while ensuring protection for the environment and economic development. The goal also includes promoting quality neighborhood growth while protecting rural lands.

In regard to economic development, the county aims to maintain and grow a strong local economy that also attracts diverse businesses and high-quality jobs. These should support growth in the rural, agricultural, and agritourism sectors. The goal also calls for additional training and education to improve the skills of the workforce while also improving the quality of life and economic opportunity throughout the county.

READ: Grow With Us: Responsibly Planning Lexington County

Based on internal discussion and community feedback, the county also aims to coordinate land use in its transportation planning to improve "mobility and accessibility" and create a "multimodal" transportation network of cars and regional transit, as well as bikable and walkable routes.

In the area of public safety, the county plan intends to maintain high levels of emergency and public safety services in a fiscally efficient manner while also coordinating with ongoing development.

The county also has a goal for long-term planning of community facilities and services. In it, the plan calls for a focus on quality in both areas in such a way that they "support a high quality of life for residents and economic growth" in a way that balances with demands and monetary concerns.

For housing and neighborhoods, the goal is to support and achieve quality construction while preserving the environment and providing open space amenities where possible. Maintaining efficient development review processes is also a priority while providing a wide range of housing choices, both physically and financially, is another. The latter includes housing for the workforce, aging residents, and those with limited income.

Through partners and directly, the county also plans to protect natural resources including sensitive lands, open spaces, and waterways through private conservation and regulation. This, in turn, will maintain scenic, and recreational. agricultural and ecosystem benefits in the county.

Resiliency, in no small part through emergency preparedness, is another sticking point developed in the goal list. It calls for preparation for both natural and manmade hazards to "eliminate disaster impacts" on property and life. This will be accomplished not only through preparedness but also through regulation and infrastructure development.

The plan intends to also promote the support of cultural, historic, and art amenities by supporting private preservation efforts, identifying funding sources, and coordinating with other municipalities. It will also look for marketing and promotional support.

For population goals, all residents are to have access to "healthy neighborhoods and quality employment opportunities" through "safe, affordable, and convenient public and private services and amenities."

Yet another point of the plan is to coordinate with state, federal, and local agencies to create opportunities for both development and revitalization by way of priority investment.

The 189-page plan concludes with how the county intends to implement what's needed to accomplish these many goals. In general, it calls for attempting to stick with the plan, establishing and implementing policies, focusing on priorities set forth by the community, tracking how and if these goals are being met, and changing updating, or amending the overall plan should the need arise.

Read the full plan on the county's specially-created website, GrowWithUsLexCo.com.

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