County’s growth topic of ILAC meeting

As Lancaster County continues to attract businesses, county officials are planning for the future.

Rob Moody, senior planner for the Catawba Council of Governments, updated residents on Lancaster County’s Comprehensive Action Plan at the Sept. 9 Indian Land Action Council meeting. The Indian Land Panhandle is the engine for much of the county’s growth with new shops and subdivisions opening every year.

Under state law, Lancaster County is required to have a comprehensive plan, Moody said. The plan is a 10-year guide to how the county will look, with a review every five years. Lancaster County contacted COG for help updating the comprehensive plan a year ago, Moody said.

Moody said the planning process comes at a good time as it coincides with “CONNECT: Our Future,” a three-year planning project for the 14-county region surrounding Charlotte.

The comprehensive plan addresses both present and future aspects of the county, including population, land use, transportation, housing, jobs and natural and economic resources, Moody said. The plan helps county officials determine existing and future challenges and opportunities.

“It’s not just for property owners,” he said. “It’s planning for the people here today and who are going to be here.”

A public hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Lancaster County Administration Building – 101 N. Main St.

“It’s an opportunity for the public to provide input and feedback on the plan, but it’s also an opportunity for the planning commission to make their case in support for the project to county council,” Moody said.

COG is meeting with the planning commission in monthly workshops to discuss each element of the plan, Moody said.

On June 30, the planning commission addressed Lancaster County’s growing population, statistics and trends. The transportation element, which the planning commission discussed on Aug. 7, evaluates current and future road needs, traffic count data and addresses possible future road maintenance and improvement.

The planning commission also discussed how to address growth in the economic element of the plan, which looks at existing employment rates, employee commuting patterns and possible areas for economic growth.

The final workshop with the planning commission will be held Oct. 2, Moody said.

County council will need to vote on the plan in three readings, the first of which will be at the Oct. 27 council meeting, Moody said. The goal is to have the approval process for the plan completed by the end of the year.

The comprehensive plan will help address the options in the county, especially the Indian Land area, which presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities, Moody said.

“We’re trying to balance development with the plan,” he said.

By Amanda Harris, printed in the Fort Mill Times