LEXINGTON, S.C. — Lexington County is working on a plan to handle growth in the area responsibly, and it's seeking input from the community while planning.
Over the past several years, the county has experienced a lot of growth, including more people coming to the area.
Ted Cokley has lived in Lexington his whole life and has seen the change over the past several years.
"It's built up everywhere. It's a whole lot different," Cokley said. "Everywhere you see around, there's more subdivisions and neighborhoods."
Cokley said there are many more businesses and restaurants in the area that are boosting the economy.
Cokley, like many others in Lexington, is concerned about the traffic. With the growing number of people moving into the county, road congestion is a common frustration.
"[Hopefully] they'll open up two-way lanes instead of one-way lanes. That'll help with traffic flow a little better," explained Cokley. "Just leave more lanes out here for the roads so traffic can flow a little better.
Elizabeth Murray, who lives and works in the county, said she thinks it is important for the county to focus on adding more local businesses.
"Something I'm really interested in seeing for Lexington is more local businesses," Murray said. "I love all the restaurants and everything that we have here, but I love to shop local and to eat at locally-owned restaurants."
People in Lexington County can give their input on what they would like to see addressed as the area continues to grow.
County Public Information Officer Harrison Cahill said the County is launching its 'Grow with us' comprehensive growth plan.
"Basically what this is, is going to be a framework on how the county is going to responsibly grow in the future," Cahill said. "We know that growth is coming to Lexington County. It's coming here rapidly."
The county gave Street Squad Lexington statistics that show an increase in Site-Built Residential Permits over the past five years. In 2015, there were a total of 1,354 permits issued by the county. In 2019, it increased to 1,629.
According to the county, the comprehensive plan's creation will span October 2020 to December of 2021.
The plan will impact budgeting solutions, zoning, land development and other services in the county.
"The most important and critical thing about this plan is that we get community input as to how our residents want to see the county grow and what their ideas are for our future," Cahill explained.
Folks in the community can give their input at growwithuslexco.com. On the website, people can comment on the things they like about Lexington County and also ideas they may have for the comprehensive plan.
"In terms of public engagement, we're going to hold public engagement meetings beginning in October. With the coronavirus pandemic, we're still working out the logistics of how we're going to do that," Cahill said. "It may be taking place in a virtual space with virtual teleconferences or meetings or we may be able to find a location somewhere in the county that's large, open air facilities that we can have people socially distanced, meet with county staff and ask questions that way."
On the website, people will also be able to give their input on whether they want the meetings to be held virtually or in-person.
So far, the county has seen a lot of feedback geared towards zoning and public safety.
Cahill believes it's important for people to give their input to help with growth within the county.
"With community input, we can gain vital information from how they think responsible growth should be taking place," explained Cahill. "We can apply that to the framework of what this comprehensive plan will accomplish. Ultimately, their goals are our goals and we want to meet the goals together."