COLUMBIA, S.C. — Rezoning discussions started early on Monday in Richland County with a special called planning commission meeting at 10 a.m.
Last week the Richland County council decided to restart the rezoning process to give more time for community input and understanding. Assistant county administrator, Aric Jensen said the meeting was a starting point for what's to come.
"They started talking about calendars, about how often they should meet, who they should talk to, who they should speak with, who is their target audience, and all of the basic things that you need to do if you're starting a process anew," he explained.
Jensen is in charge of conducting an assessment of Richland County's 2005 zoning map, which is currently being used, and the zoning map that was created last year.
His job is to act as a third party and review the new map to see what needs to be changed to fit the needs of the community.
"We start by looking at the existing code, and we look at that and we say and we say okay there is literally a land-use translation table and you start by going across and saying does this actually work," Jensen said.
Although no decisions were made at the Monday work session, Sal Sharpe says she still would have liked to be there. However, because the county never published information about the meeting, she did not know when to go or what was being talked about.
"I would rather have a lot more information about when the meetings are, when we need to show up, what they are talking about, and when we need to show up because we keep getting news alerts saying Richland is doing this, they're not doing this, and it's all just very confusing," Sharpe said with a sigh.
Sal has been coming to meetings about rezoning since February and says she is not looking forward to the mapping process restarting.
"Our roads are already congested, we need more green areas, we need forests, we need rural areas," she said. "One blanket policy is not going to work, and one size does not fit all."
The analysis of both zoning maps should be complete in the next four weeks. Then the county will start taking public comment into consideration.
Those public meetings have not been announced by Richland County yet. The planning commission will have another zoning public hearing on May 24.