Commissioners want more vision in community survey for plan
Before the Georgetown County Planning Commission updates its land-use plan, members say it first needs to update the community survey that will help shape the plan. They want to revise a set of 20 questions planning staff proposed for the survey.
“There needs to be some massaging of it,” commission member Sandra Bundy said.
The land-use plan is one of 10 elements of the county’s comprehensive plan, a document required by state law that must be updated at least every 10 years. The county last updated the land-use element in 2007, although it reviewed it in 2015.
Work on the update began in 2019. One element, cultural resources, is awaiting approval from County Council. Three others – transportation, natural resources and housing – are in progress.
The land-use element was paused last year after complaints that there wasn’t enough public input. Limits placed on public meetings by the coronavirus pandemic and a hack of the county’s computer system delayed work on a new round of input.
Holly Richardson, the county planning director, told the Planning Commission last week that she was ready to send out an updated community survey.
“Shouldn’t we get maybe a little more in it,” Bundy said.
The survey asks about the features people value in Georgetown County and the type of growth they want to see in different parts of the county. Some questions contained in the draft survey ask people to choose their favorites from images of what future development could look like.
It concludes by asking, “What is your vision for how Georgetown County should look in 20 years?”
Bundy questioned whether the intent of the survey was actually to come up with a vision for the entire comprehensive plan. She objected to the cultural resources element for that reason.
“I was concerned that we were not including our vision for the county,” she said. “We need a vision to drive these elements.”
Commission member Marla Hamby also thought the survey needs work.
“I thought it was too general,” she said. “I don’t think this needs to be done quickly.”
Richardson said she hoped the commission would hold a workshop next month to review results from past surveys. She said the session could also be used to refine the new survey.
“This will be another delay,” Elizabeth Krauss, who chairs the commission, said.
Two citizens groups, Keep It Green and Preserve Murrells Inlet, threatened last month to go to court to force the county to complete the comprehensive plan. Bundy serves on the board of Preserve Murrells Inlet. Hamby is a leader of Keep It Green.
Bundy thought the workshop would be the place to refine the survey. “I’m looking forward to it,” she said.
Hamby is frustrated because she doesn’t think the county is following the current land use plan in approving zoning changes. “People on the Waccamaw Neck are sick and tired of being ignored,” she said. “We never win. Never.”
She thinks the commission should take more community input.