Blythewood Begins Zoning for Industry

Ordinance Passes First Reading

BLYTHEWOOD – Town Council took the first step Monday evening in a newly energized effort to bring industry to Blythewood. It passed first reading on a Limited Industrial Two (LI-2) zoning district that will allow a wider variety and greater intensity of manufacturing uses than the Town’s current Limited Industrial District (LI), Ed Parler, the Town’s Economic Development consultant told Council.

The uses allowed in the ordinance run the gamut from tire manufacturing, machine shops, textile industries and testing laboratories to public relations agencies, cafeterias, full service restaurants and business support services. But Parler said LI-2 zoning would not allow the most intense manufacturing uses of the Basic Industrial (BI) district such as foundry and smelting operations. Distribution centers have also been eliminated. Conditional uses allowed include sale of manufactured homes and motor vehicle repair garages.

While the ordinance, as written, calls for a building height limit of 35 feet, Parler asked Council to increase that to a 100-foot height limit (equivalent to 8-9 stories), adding that Richland County has no height limit for its industrial and manufacturing facilities. After some discussion, Councilman Tom Utroska made the motion to amend the ordinance to allow a height limit of 50 feet, to which Council unanimously agreed. Councilman Bob Mangone was absent.

Parler said he planned to take the request for the 100-foot limit back to the Planning Commission at its April 6 meeting. If the Commission approves the additional height the request will be sent to Council as an amendment to the second and final reading of the ordinance at Council’s April 27 meeting, Parler said. In addition to any additional height Council might approve, the Town’s Board of Appeals can grant an additional 10 feet of height as a special exception. However, in an interview with The Voice, Parler said he and Richland County will look at additional changes to the height and other restrictions before the ordinance goes back to Council.

“We want to know exactly what height we can get to in the end,” Parler said. “We need a very clear definition before the process starts.”

While the ordinance before Council is a text amendment that only establishes the zoning district on paper and does not target a particular piece of property, Parler said the text ordinance is needed for the rezoning of a specific 600-acre tract in Blythewood that Richland County has its eye on for an industry it says is interested. The tract is bordered by Northpoint Industrial Park to the south, I-77 on the east, Lorick Road on the north and Ashley Oaks subdivision on the west. The property is known locally as the Barnett property and is owned by the Barnett family.

“Be assured,” Parler told Council, “that if you establish this LI-2 zoning district, you will immediately receive a zoning request for LI-2 zoning for this 600-acre property and the applicant will be Richland County.”

 

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