Correction and Clarification: Lexington County is not totally stopping any home building in any area
Editor’s Note: Last night, I received answers in writing to some questions from Lexington County’s spokesman Harrison Cahill regarding changes in this ordinance. I only read the portions he had written in red that were specific, answers to specific questions I posed. I neglected to read the short introduction to his answers which were at the top of the page. I wish to personally apologize to Harrison Cahill for the mistake on my part. I did send the article to Councilman Hudson, he read it, and told me to run with it as written. I then published it. I apologize to anyone I misquoted. This entire misunderstand is the fault of Paul Kirby and not Lexington County or Harrison Cahill.
Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – An action that Lexington County Councilman Darrell Hudson proposed recently will slow residential development in his district and portions of several adjoining council districts. The first step passed a vote by the council Tuesday evening. Hudson described the action as a pending ordinance doctrine. He said it will effectively slow residential development in the council districts designated. Hudson’s district includes part of Lexington and Lake Murray. The other districts that could eventually have partial slowdowns due to density changes will include Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8. These stretch from Batesburg-Leesville, through Springdale, and into West Columbia. Some Chapin areas would also be affected. Remember only portions of those other districts will be impacted.
According to Harrison Cahill, spokesman for Lexington County, he said the action the council took Tuesday evening will NOT stop new development. Councilman Hudson said that when people are seeking to build single family homes or individual mobile homes, the number of these per acre that would be allowed is four, not the twelve Hudson referred to as ridiculous. This may be within a subdivision or on an individual lot or lots. Cahill explained that the proposed text is an article within the Lexington County Zoning Ordinance and the regulations may cover subdivisions, building and zoning permits, and over-the-counter plat approvals. In short, the building of any new single-family homes or the placement of mobile homes that would include more than four homes per acre will be stopped while this doctrine is in place. Of course, developers and anyone building a home would still be required to adhere to all other applicable county or state ordinances, rules, or requirements.
Hudson said in a telephone interview that what was done Tuesday will stop the out of control development until the permanent ordinance can make it through the council that will take the doctrine’s place. That will require several readings and a public hearing. He explained that he proposed this action to stop large national developers that are throwing up cracker boxes, vinyl homes that will eventually turn into decaying neighborhoods that look terrible and plummet in value. “They are simply worried about profits,” Hudson said. “We need to pause, take a breath, and look at this growth. It’s time to plan for how we are going to deal with 20% plus growth each year. We must have roads and streets, infrastructure, everything we need to support these neighborhoods before we build them. We can’t keep playing catch up and constantly let this explosion of growth outrun us.”
Councilman Hudson that he and the council are doing this in response to the explosion of building. “Letting developers put 12 homes on an acre of land in the past was ridiculous! You couldn’t stand on your back deck and hold a conversation without the neighbors hearing everything you said. We’ve changed that density regulation to four homes per acre which is much more reasonable.”
The actual ordinance clearly states, “The purpose of this Article is to address concerns regarding increased residential growth within the more densely populated and rapidly growing unincorporated areas of Lexington County. In order to help address traffic congestion, the deteriorating condition of the existing roadways and infrastructure, and roadway safety issues, high density residential developments are discouraged within the overlay zone created through this Article. Such controls administered within the overlay zone serve to reduce the density for new residential land uses and administer more stringent means for calculating allowed residential density.”
Hudson also addressed the placement of the new middle school at Old Cherokee Road and Cherokee Trail during the interview. “I’m not afraid to be controversial when it comes to representing the best interest of my district. I’ll tell anyone right now that the decision to put a school there shouldn’t have been made without more interagency cooperation. Certainly, the final decision about where the school district puts their schools lays [sic]with the school board, but after they find a piece of property that fits all the regulations they must meet, they should talk with us as a county and the town of Lexington’s government too. We need to make sure everyone else that will be affected by this decision is aware and is prepared for the increase in traffic and everything that comes with building a new school. We’ve got to be ready for the influx that’s headed our way!” Hudson said that the county has inherited a great deal of problems that other people have caused. “It’s time we start having more say in what roads we accept, what potholes we have to repair, what subdivisions we inherit, what homes we have to protect with fire trucks, ambulances, sheriff’s deputies, and all other kinds of services.”
Councilman Hudson also said he expects this action will last approximately 90 days. At that point, the more permanent solution will be in place. County spokesman Harrison Cahill says that there is no set time period for the pending ordinance and the provisions will carry until the formal ordinance amendment process has been completed. This means that the residential area density changes are open-ended, and it won’t be undone until the council amends the ordinance, if ever.