Guest Editorial: Don’t Let Richland County Pave Our Roads

At a recent County Transportation Ad Hoc committee meeting, the interim Transportation Director, Michael Maloney, recommended that County Council amend Richland’s Dirt Road Paving ordinance by removing the section in Chapter 21 that, for many years, allowed 25 percent of property owners on a dirt road to decline a road paving project.

The amendment would allow the County to proactively pursue and complete the paving of Richland County dirt roads and take road right-of-way… without the adjoining property owner’s consent – even if property owners had previously declined the paving. The amendment could affect more than a hundred dirt roads in Blythewood 29016.

Check your road out on the List of 596 county-wide dirt roads by Council Districts 1-11 here.

The list has not been updated since 2019 and a road’s status may have changed. Though the status may be listed as “Dropped” or “Unfunded”, the designation on the list only relates to dirt roads proposed to be funded by the Penny Tax under the current ordinance. If the 25% threshold which allows for property owners to decline paving of their road is removed from the ordinance, the “status” on the list will be meaningless and your road may be subject to being paved. Removing the 25% threshold will subject all dirt roads to being paved whether funded through the Penny Tax funds or other funds.

Completely removing the 25% threshold from the ordinance will give the County unfettered access to pave dirt roads, which will facilitate high density subdivision and multi-family development.

Take steps to stop the road paving amendment and protect our rural areas

If you own property on a dirt road, contact the Richland County Ombudsman’s Office (803-929-6000) and request a copy of the Consent/Denial letter that should have been sent to you sometime within the last 10 years (sometime after 2012), which you were to send back to the County with either a consent or denial.  But using snail mail, who knows if the county received it on a timely basis or at all.  If the County did not receive your Consent/Denial letter on time or you did not respond, you are counted as consenting to paving. If you have purchased property on a dirt road within that time frame and did not receive a letter, request a copy of the letter sent in by the previous owner.  

  • Request that the County indicate whether they received your response on a timely basis. 
  • Ask the Ombudsman when you should expect a copy of your response. 
  • If you consented to paving and have changed your mind, inform the Ombudsman and your council member in writing. If you have not signed an easement acquisition document, you may be able to object when it is presented to you for signature.  This will only apply if the 25% threshold is not removed (or is changed to a different threshold).

Then (whether you own property on a dirt road or are just concerned about the loss of our rural areas that comes with uncontrolled growth and the paving of dirt roads), email all council members, individually:

Ask them to Vote “NO” to removing the 25% threshold from the Dirt Road Paving Ordinance

Ask them to approve all the Planning Commission’s (not the staff’s) proposed amendments to the Land Development Code and zoning map, which will help prevent high density development in rural areas.

All County Council members’ email addresses

  1. District 1: Jason Branham – [email protected]
  2. District 2: Derrek Pugh – [email protected]
  3. District 3: Yvonne McBride – [email protected]
  4. District 4: Paul Livingston – [email protected]
  5. District 5: Allison Terracio – [email protected]
  6. District 6: Don Weaver – [email protected]
  7. District 7: Gretchen Barron – [email protected]
  8. District 8: Overture Walker – [email protected]
  9. District 9: Jessica Mackey – [email protected]
  10. District 10: Cheryl English – [email protected]
  11. District 11: Chakisse Newton – [email protected]

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]