Spartanburg County residential growth spurs talk of expanded zoning | Spartanburg Politics

SPARTANBURG — New land-use zoning designed to balance residential growth in Spartanburg County’s unincorporated areas could be approved in late 2023.

The county’s residential growth continues as demand for new housing is boosted by economic development. Over the past two years, at least $6.1 billion in investment and more than 6,000 jobs have been pledged by companies in Spartanburg County. 

In the early 2000s, there were efforts by County Council to better plan for the future by introducing new zoning ordinances to replace the the Unified Land Management Ordinance, but residents at the time expressed opposition to any changes. In 2016, the county started a two-year process to implement Area Performance Zoning in the county’s southwest corridor along S.C. Highways 290 and 101.

The new zoning uses a road classification system that set new standards for setbacks, screening, buffering and height to guide residential growth. The new zoning allowed the county to get away from parcel-by-parcel zoning. With residential growth expected to continue, Spartanburg County Council aims to expand the Area Performance Zoning to all other unincorporated areas of the county.

“What is driving this is residential growth,” County Councilman David Britt told The Post and Courier. “People are moving here from all over, primarily from neighboring counties. We don’t have enough homes ready for people to move into.”

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Britt said a new zoning ordinance would allow the county to better manage growth throughout the county and provide more planning on how to manage the influx of new residential developments.

County Planning and Development Director Joan Holliday said the plan to implement Area Performance Zoning will be presented Feb. 7 to the County Planning Commission. Work sessions will be held in February and March between the County Council and Planning Commission.

During April through August, public meetings will be held to discuss how to best draft an updated ordinance to reflect the new zoning changes. A new zoning ordinance would require three readings for final approval by County Council. A first reading could be held as early as September, according to Holliday.

“We just presented our proposed rollout calendar to County Council this past Monday (Jan. 23),” Holliday said. “We are now waiting to present it to our Planning Commission.”

Housing construction in the county remains strong despite a slowdown in late 2022. In the county, there were 1,870 single-family homes under construction in late January with 406 townhomes and duplexes under construction.

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Jay Beeson, Mark III Properties president, said he anticipates new housing construction to pick up pace in the latter half of 2023 in the county. 

“Spartanburg has done a great job with economic development and recruitment of new industry and jobs,” Beeson said. “A lot of people are moving to the area and there isn’t as large of a housing supply as in some other areas.”

Beeson is developing The Ellison on East Main Street just outside Spartanburg’s city limits. The new development will include 203 single-family homes, 116 townhomes, and 242 patio-style homes. The new development to be completed in five to seven years is among several developments planned for the county. If Area Performance Zoning is expanded to other areas of the county, Britt said, it will help the county identify what roads can handle new residential developments and not overstress infrastructure.

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Follow Chris Lavender on Twitter @spartanburgpc

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