Lexington County Council voted unanimously to approve the 2022 Comprehensive Plan entitled “Grow With Us: Responsibly Planning Lexington County.”
The 2022 Comprehensive Plan is Lexington County’s effort to partner with community stakeholders and residents to collectively develop a plan on how to responsibly grow our county. This plan will lay forth a framework with which Lexington County and community leaders can use to manage growth for years to come.
Council members voted to approve the plan during their council meeting on Tuesday, June 7. During Tuesday’s meeting, Council Chairman Scott Whetstone took time to thank the Planning and GIS Department for their efforts in creating and developing this plan.
“Thank you for all the work that you’ve done,” Chairman Whetstone said. “There’s been a lot of time and dedication put into this and we really appreciate it.”
The 2022 Comprehensive Plan has been curated over the last two years by the Lexington County Planning and GIS Department, along with a team of consultants that assisted with the process. During those two years, there have been five separate outreach efforts to engage the public and get feedback on what they feel should be included in the plan.
The outreach efforts began in July 2020 with a public “Kick-Off” meeting before County Council and the Planning Commission. That meeting was shortly followed by a process of extensive stakeholder interviews with citizens, leadership, and organizations such as the Building Industry Association, local builders and developers, private citizens, school districts, city leaders, and many others. There were also many focus group meetings with County Department Heads and Administration.
A Steering Committee made up of private citizens and local leadership was established serving to guide the plan, provide key input, and review initial framing of the plan. The Steering Committee held seven separate meetings occurring between July 2020 and March 2022. In October 2020, “Idea Week” was held which consisted of multiple in-person and virtual meetings used to gain input and understand the aspirations and priorities of residents. These meetings were strategically targeted at seven regional areas in the county corresponding to the seven previously identified Planning Areas.
From there, three Growth Scenarios were developed, each one showing a different detailed model of future land uses in Lexington County. Each scenario was developed using the different priorities from “Idea Week.” They were presented to the public in September 2021, utilizing online graphics and a month-long, survey preference tool process, all intended to allow the public an opportunity to choose a preferred Growth Scenario option to help develop Lexington County’s Future Land Use and Character Map.
The feedback from the public through the Growth Scenarios poll was then used to create the Draft Plan. The Draft Plan was presented to the public in January 2022, which included a virtual public presentation, live online question and answers session, while also utilizing a month-long online survey response format serving to solicit public feedback on the Draft Plan, and the County’s Future Land Use and Character Map.
Once the 2022 Comprehensive Plan was finalized by the Planning and GIS Department, it was first presented to the County Planning Commission for a recommendation of support and then presented to County Council. The first reading was held on March 22, a public hearing was held on May 11, the second reading was held on May 24, and the third and final reading was held on June 7.
“This plan will serve as a guide for Lexington County as we move forward into the future,” County Administrator Lynn Sturkie said. “We want Lexington County to continue to grow and prosper and with this plan in place, will we be able to prepare for and manage growth responsibly. Thank you to all of the citizens who provided their feedback to help us develop this plan. This would not be possible without your input.”
“This plan definitely implores the community to indeed, ‘Plan With Us’ to responsibly plan for the future of Lexington County,” Planning and GIS Director Holland Leger said. “This county has not had a robust plan of this caliber in many years and with the overwhelming support of the community, we are today reveling in your success.”
“Thank you for the support and funding provided by County Council, for the confidence afforded by administration, the community and the Planning Commission to get this monumental task completed,” Leger said. “My immeasurable appreciation is also extended to the Planning and GIS staff and the Lexington County stakeholders and citizens, without which, we could not have been successful. Our county’s future is bright and we look forward to responsibly planning Lexington County by having you all ‘Plan With Us.’”
For more information about the 2022 Comprehensive Plan, visit www.growwithuslexco.com.