PC tables industrial zoning

163 Acres of Manufacturing Proposed West of I-77

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood Planning Commission voted Monday night to table a request by Richland County to rezone three connected parcels west of I-77, totaling 163 acres, to Limited Industrial 2 District (LI-2) zoning. Tiffany Harrison represented Richland County’s Economic Development Office at the meeting.

Richland County Economic Development Office is requesting to rezone 163 acres of property in the town to Limited Industrial 2 (LI-2) zoning. | Ashley Ghere

The parcels, currently zoned Development (D-1) are bordered roughly by Blythewood Road to the north, Community Road to the east and Ashley Oaks neighborhood to the southwest.

The three parcels are part of approximately 1,000 acres of potential industrial use. Two years ago, at Richland County’s request, council rezoned approximately 600 acres to the south of the 163 acres to Li-2.

On March 25, town council voted to update the town’s Master Plan priorities listing Economic Development as a number one priority. From that list Council voted to define a possible technical village within the 1,000 acres.

“The LI-2 zoning district allows a wider variety and greater intensity of manufacturing uses than the Limited Industrial (LI) district but not the most intense manufacturing uses of the Basic Industrial (BI) district,” Town Administrator Brian Cook explained to the commission.

But the long and varied list of manufacturing businesses that are allowed to operate under the LI-2 zoning designation did not set well with many of the 20 or so residents who attended the meeting.

Those uses include textile manufacturing, computer and electronics, pharmaceutical and medicine, aircraft, motor vehicle body and trailers, plastic and rubber products, certain steel and aluminum products, forging and stamping, machine shop, small arms ammunition and many other types of manufacturing as well as a number of kinds of services, warehousing and gas stations.

A complete list of allowed and conditional uses is available at town hall and on The Voice’s website (blythewoodonline.com).

Both Harrison and Blythewood’s Economic Development Director Ed Parler assured naysayers that the list does not include dirty manufacturing.

“This is the highest and best use of this property,” Parler said, noting that it would provide jobs and revenue for the town.

Asked by newly appointed commissioner Ed Kesser if the County has a master plan for the industrial acreage, Harrison said there would be covenants and restricts put in place, but that the priority is to get the properties rezoned. She said Richland County can’t move forward until the zoning is in place.

“A lot of these kinds of manufacturing you’re not going to want in your neighborhood, Commission Chairman Donald Brock said, looking over the list. “And what if you get the zoning, but don’t get the cleaner manufacturers to come here, then will you take less desirable ones?” Brock asked.

“We don’t want to limit uses too much,” Harrison said. “We want to keep it broad.”

“I feel like we’ve been kept in the dark,” Tom Utroska said, echoing others in the audience. “I’m not opposed to LI-2, but you need a better explanation before you make a recommendation to Council,” Utroska said to the commissioners.

Heeding that advice, the commission voted 4-2 to table the item until the August meeting.

Planning Commission Packet