CHAPIN, S.C. — An official notice sign from the Richland County Planning Commission has raised concern among Chapin citizens.
"We don't know what's going on," community member Phyllis Bickley told Street Squad, "We can't find out anything, we haven't been told anything. We just don't know and that's what's bothering everybody, what everybody is upset about... we can't find out anything."
The sign gives notice of a proposed zoning change for two properties off of Broad River Rd. at Freshly Mill Rd. and Canterfield Rd.
One piece of property (Case #19-047MA) is 17.79 acres currently listed as "RU" which stands for rural district. It is slated to be changed to "GC" meaning general commercial.
The second piece of property (Case #19-046MA) is 12 acres listed as "RU" to be changed to residential multi family high density- "RM-HD."
At this point in the process, the applicant for these properties does not have to state what they intend to do with the land. The zoning applications were submitted by Vicki Brooks, a realtor in the area.
Here is a breakdown of the process for how rezoning land works according to Geonald Price, Planner for Richland County:
First, there is the submission of the application to rezone. That goes to the Richland County planning department,which then prepares a report based on multiple things such as its part in the county's comprehensive plan, traffic studies and so on.
These recommendations go to the Richland County Planning Commission - a group of nine members appointed by county council.
They will then have a public meeting and come up with a recommendation that will go on to county council.
Citizens are allowed to attend this meeting and speak for two minutes about their thoughts. The commission will take public comments into account when formulating their recommendation to council.
Then Richland County Council will have a zoning public hearing meeting on the cases, after the planning commission submits their recommendation from its meeting. Council will either approve the request and it will go on for two more readings before being passed OR it will deny the request and the process will end there.
Although the sign says the changes are to be discussed December 2 at 3 p.m. at the planning commission meeting, no agenda has yet been posted.
Beverly Harris with Richland County told Street Squad that "Agendas for Planning Commission meetings generally are released a few days prior to the meetings."
No other information is available at this time about this proposal but citizens have been vocal on social media about opposing this change some even calling for a mass email campaign to county council members opposing whatever it is that is proposed.
Phyllis Bickley says she will be at the meeting on December 2. "I am definitely going, yes ma'am. We will definitely be there."
The planning commission will meet on December 2 at 3 p.m. and the Richland County Council will meet December 17th for the public hearing.
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