Rewritten Land Development Code set to shape county’s future

January 17, 2022

Learn about new building standards through in-person meetings, interactive app

Richland County residents have several upcoming opportunities to learn about possible zoning changes to their property, as the County moves into the final stage of rewriting its Land Development Code (LDC).

The LDC is a set of regulations that govern land use and development in unincorporated areas of the County. The code covers standards for zoning districts and dwelling units allowed per acre, along with building location, permitted uses, signage, landscaping and other rules. In November, County Council passed the rewritten LDC, which is set to go into effect May 2.

With the text of the code now adopted, County staff are working to finalize the draft zoning map for the new LDC.

From January through March, a series of informational, in-person meetings throughout Richland County will discuss the rewritten LDC and zoning changes. The same information will be presented at each meeting, so residents can attend at the time and location most convenient for them.

In addition to the meetings, the County will make information on the LDC available through mailings and an interactive app viewer. Residents can also phone or email County staff with comments and questions.

“This series of meetings will give residents of Richland County several opportunities to learn about the zoning changes that will come with the rewritten LDC and any impact it might have,” Council Chair Overture Walker said. “Planning staff will also be available in the coming months to give residents even more chances to ask questions and learn more about this process.”

When finalized, the rewritten LDC will reflect the first comprehensive overhaul of the County’s code since 2005. Throughout the rewrite process, the County’s Planning Department has held community input meetings and met one-on-one with residents to get feedback. The changes will place all unincorporated areas of Richland County under new zoning districts adopted in 2021.

The new LDC and its updated zoning districts are designed to:

  • Be more user-friendly
  • Help implement the policies in PLAN Richland County, which establishes a vision and desired growth pattern for the County over the next 10 to 20 years and contains strategies for achieving that vision
  • Align zoning districts, property uses and development standards with 21st century best practices
  • Further enable greener, more sustainable development in the County

Zoning Map Updates

In the coming weeks, all property owners in the County will receive a letter in the mail detailing their property’s assigned zoning district. This mailing will also include important dates and contact information.

While the map amendment process, set to take place this spring, will include all properties in unincorporated Richland County, many property owners will not see a major zoning change from their previous district.

“Based on the way the new zoning districts are laid out and the remapping process, many properties will see a zoning district very similar to that under the 2005 LDC,” said Brian Crooks, Planning Services manager.

For example, Crooks said, “Where a current RS-MD (Residential Single-Family Medium Density) zoned property will become R3 (Residential 3), those two districts are very similar in terms of character, standards and land uses and are generally equivalent.”

Some properties will fall under new zoning that differs from the current code. The County has replaced several zoning districts from the 2005 LDC, particularly for properties previously mapped as Rural (RU), Crooks said. New zoning district designations include Agricultural (AG), Homestead (HM), Corridor (MU2) and Community Mixed-Use (MU3), among others.

Learn About the Changes

Beginning next week, the County will hold community drop-in meetings to advise residents on how their property is zoned and what that entails. The meetings will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 18 at Blythewood Park, 126 Boney Road, Blythewood
  • Wednesday, Jan. 19 at Parklane Adult Activity Center, 7494 Parklane Road, Columbia
  • Monday, Jan. 24 at Cross Roads Community Center, 2750 McCords Ferry Road, Eastover
  • Tuesday, Jan. 25 at Eastover Park, 1031 Main St, Eastover
  • Wednesday, Jan. 26 at Bluff Road Park, 148 Carswell Drive, Columbia
  • Thursday, Jan. 27 at Ballentine Community Center, 1053 Bird Road, Irmo
  • Tuesday, Feb. 1 at Friarsgate Park, 1712 Chadford Road, Irmo
  • Wednesday, Feb. 2 at Garners Ferry Adult Activity Center, 8620 Garners Ferry Road, Hopkins
  • Thursday, Feb. 3 at Gadsden Park Community Center, 1668 S. Goodwin Circle, Gadsden
  • Tuesday, Feb. 8 at Hopkins Adult Activity Center, 144 Hopkins Park Road, Hopkins
  • Wednesday, Feb. 9 at Killian Park, 1424 Marthan Road, Columbia
  • Thursday, Feb. 10 at Meadowlake Park, 600 Beckman Road, Columbia
  • Tuesday, Feb. 15 at New Castle-Trenholm Acres Community Center, 5819 Shakespeare Road, Columbia
  • Wednesday, Feb. 16 at North Springs Community Center, 1320 Clemson Road, Columbia
  • Thursday, Feb. 17 at Perrin-Thomas Park Community Center, 1030 Andrews Road, Columbia
  • Tuesday, Feb. 22 at Pine Grove Community Center, 937 Piney Woods Road, Columbia
  • Wednesday, Feb. 23 at Ridgewood Park Community Center, 805 Crest St., Columbia
  • Thursday, Feb. 24 at Polo Road Park, 730 Polo Road, Columbia
  • Tuesday, March 1 at St. Andrews Park, 920 Beatty Road, Columbia
  • Wednesday, March 2 at Upper Richland Community Center, 280 Camp Ground Road, Columbia

More dates could be scheduled as availability allows.

The County’s Geographic Information Systems Division is developing an interactive app viewer that shows zoning information for a specific area. The viewer can be accessed on the Planning Department’s webpage.

Residents and property owners can also visit the Zoning office on the first floor of the County Administration Building, at 2020 Hampton St., Columbia, during business hours, or schedule a one-on-one meeting with a Zoning staff member about specific properties. Those with questions should email [email protected] or call 803-576-2190.

To learn more, visit the County Planning webpage.