Col. Co. Commission Chair discusses zoning decision making


Major developments can face major opposition when they’re built near Columbia County neighborhoods.

The recurring theme we’re seeing in Columbia County is growth. With growth come these beautiful neighborhoods, with a lot of land around it.

Growth piques developers interests to zone it for profit. Chairman Doug Duncan says it’s a balancing act.

He says around 155,000 people expected come 2020 and about 4,000 a year come to the area.

Development moves quickly in this town, and commissioners have to decide what goes where, but most importantly it’s impact on everyone else.

“We want a certain standard within the county and we want to balance people’s constitutional rights to profit from the property,” says Chairman Duncan.

Remember the storage units that will be built in Heritage Hill.

One resident, whose home will be right next to it, says, “I don’t care it will be out of place.”

…And most recently the apartment complexes under construction across from River Island.

River Island resident, Reece Bridges, says, “we really don’t want apartments because it’s not zoned for apartments. These are the last two undeveloped apartment zoned properties on the books in Columbia County that is not in the master plan.”

There’s residents from rural areas to modern neighborhoods. Chairman Duncan used this hypothetical example: “Maybe somebody wanted to build a paper mill and put it on the Savannah River next to Champions Retreat that would be long and hard to think that through. I mean whats that worth? What would that do to the community?”

Zoning plans are sent to the schools, sheriff’s office, and he says he personally takes into account petitions from the community.

“It gets down to the individual commissioner and where their heart is and what they believe and how they uphold the constitution,” says Chairman Duncan.

The Vision 2035 act is reaching it’s five-year mark. Chairman Duncan says there is a citizen committee that will take into account such topics like zoning.

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