Measure would reduce size of zoning district

A new ordinance may soon allow more planned development districts in the county.
County Council gave first reading on Nov. 9 to an ordinance to decrease the minimum acreage amount for PDDs from 150 to 2 acres. A PDD, such as Sun City Carolina Lakes in Indian Land, is a zoning designation that combines both residential and commercial properties.
Council tabled the ordinance in July as it wanted more information.
Deputy County Administrator Jeff Naftal said the change would give council more control over new developments. Council has discussed the issue several times over the last year, as members have heard complaints from residents about stalled developments and contractors who have left developments unfinished and unsafe.
“This is the desire to give staff and council the tools needed to ensure development meets the goals and vision of the county,” Naftal said.
County Planning Director Chris Karres first brought the issue to council earlier this year because of dwindling amounts of large parcels of land in the county.
Karres previously said the acreage was set at 150 acres to encourage those who wanted to develop sections of land to merge their plans together, thus reducing the amount of infrastructure the county would be responsible for. But with less undeveloped space in the county, and to encourage more development, Karres recommended the change.
The ordinance was left in limbo after some residents spoke against the change.
“With this ordinance, anything over 2 acres would be a PDD and they (developers) will have to go to council for approval,” Naftal told council.
Councilman Larry McCullough worried how this change will affect items recommended in the U.S. 521/S.C. 9 corridor study, a report that was presented to council earlier this year. Naftal said developers will be required to follow guidelines in the study.
Council then unanimously approved first reading to the ordinance. Two more readings are required for it to take effect.
Also at its Nov. 9 meeting, council:
• Unanimously approved a proposal to give Chesterfield County seven containers that are being scrapped by the county.
Darin Robinson, director of the public works department, told council that the 12-year-old containers, formerly used at convenience sites, were going to be sold as scrap because of their rusted condition. But he recommended giving them to Chesterfield County because of the county’s need for containers.
• Approved first reading of an ordinance to suspend any rezoning of property in the Panhandle area of the county by a vote of 6-1. Councilman Cotton Cole dissented. Naftal requested the ordinance to halt rezoning in the area north of the CSX rail line until the county rewrites its Unified Development Ordinance to be consistent with the corridor study.

By Chris Sardelli, Staff Writer with The Lancaster News