Planning Commission Delays Zoning Vote

Commission Questions Approved Industries

BLYTHEWOOD – Appearing before the Planning Commission Monday night, Nelson Lindsay, Director of Economic Development for Richland County, proposed a new Limited Industrial (LI(2)) zoning category for the Town that he said would make sure there are sites suitable for companies to locate in Richland County.

“That primarily means industrial sites, industrial parks and industrial buildings. Those are the types of projects we typically work with,” Lindsay said.

The agenda listed as an action item the adoption of the proposed zoning. Touting the LI(2) zoning classification as bridging the gap between the Town’s current Limited Industrial Zoning District and the heavier Basic Industrial Zoning District, Lindsay said the goal of the LI(2) is to make it specific to this community and what would be acceptable to it. He said the LI(2) would be more restrictive than the zoning in Northpoint Industrial Park, for example, and handed out a listing of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that indicated the industries that would be allowed in the LI(2) zoning district.

But after Commissioner Mike Switzer questioned whether some of the listed industries, such as tire manufacturing and textile mills, might be considered heavy rather than limited manufacturing, the Commissioners voted to postpone a vote on any recommendation to Town Council until they had further considered the industries that would be allowed in the town limits under the new zoning classification. Three of the seven members were not present and those present said they had not previously seen the list of manufacturing that would be included in the LI(2) zoning.

The specific focus of the proposed LI(2) zoning is 633 acres west of I-77, most of which was previously included in a 900-acre tract that was for a short time, in 2003, zoned as a Light Industrial Research Park. That tract was subsequently re-zoned to Development (D-1) which, Town Planner Michael Criss said, is more closely aligned with Rural zoning. A site map showed the 633 acres bounded by I-77, Ashley Oaks subdivision, Locklear Road and the area around Westwood High School just off Highway 21. Lindsay said the tract is under a 5-year option by Richland County.

“When companies come looking,” Lindsay said, “they have such an accelerated time schedule that we have to be prepared. If they (industrial buildings and parks) aren’t built before they come looking, it’s too late. Due diligence means having all the infrastructure in place – water, sewer and power already at the site. And, of course, we have to have the zoning in place and that’s why I’m here. These companies can’t wait for the zoning to be passed when they start looking. I’m here tonight to eliminate that risk. We don’t want to spend money to build buildings until the zoning is in place.”

Lindsay said the new zoning classification would also enhance the marketability of the closer industrial sites in the County that are already in place, including Northpoint and Carolina Research Park.

Mayor J. Michael Ross attended the meeting but did not speak. Former Councilman Ed Garrison and the Town’s Economic Development consultant, Ed Parler, both spoke in support of the LI(2) zoning.

The next regular Planning Commission is scheduled for Feb. 2, when the proposed zoning is expected to be further discussed.

Categories of Manufacturing Allowed

in Proposed LI(2) Zoning District

• Textile Mills • Fabric Mills • Leather & Allied Product Manufacturing • Wood Product Manufacturing • Paperboard Manufacturing • Commercial Printing • Pharmaceutical & Medicine Manufacturing • Plastics & Rubber Products Manufacturing • Tire & Rubber Hose Manufacturing • Steel Product Manufacturing • Forging & Stamping • Structural Metals Manufacturing • Boiler, Tank & Shipping Container Manufacturing • Machine Shops, Screw, Nut & Bolt Manufacturing • Industrial Machinery Manufacturing • Engine, Turbine, Power Transmission Equipment Manufacturing • Computer & Electronic Product Manufacturing • Semiconductor & Other Electronic Component Manufacturing • Bare Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing • Household Appliance Manufacturing • Electrical Equipment Manufacturing • Battery Manufacturing • Automobile & Truck Manufacturing • Aerospace Product & Parts Manufacturing • Office Furniture Manufacturing • Mattress Manufacturing • Motion Picture & Sound Recording Industries • Business Support Services• Restaurants • Data Processing • Other Businesses & Services